From the Executive Director: Citizens and partnerships in the safe transportation of oil

Donna Schantz

Donna Schantz is the executive director of the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council.

March 24, 2017, marked the 28th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Each anniversary is a time for reflection on how far we have come, as well as how much there is left to do. It is also a time to recognize the efforts of those who used the lessons of the Exxon Valdez to advocate for safeguards to ensure nothing like it ever happens again. Thanks to the foresight, vigilance, and tireless efforts of elected officials, government regulators, industry, and citizens, the oil spill prevention and response system now in place in Prince William Sound is an example to the rest of the world. A big part of the success in Prince William Sound is that all these partners work together. We all share one goal: to promote the safe transportation of oil. While every partner has played a vital role in the success in Prince William Sound, special recognition is warranted to honor past and current technical committee and board members of the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council. Our volunteers have put in countless unpaid hours dedicated to the mission of our organization.

Congress found that complacency on the part of industry and government personnel responsible for monitoring the operation of the Valdez Marine Terminal and associated oil tanker traffic in Prince William Sound was a major contributing factor to the Exxon Valdez oil spill. To combat this complacency, Congress established two regional citizens’ advisory councils, ours in Prince William Sound and another in Cook Inlet, to involve citizens in an environmental oversight and monitoring. Neither council could satisfy the provisions under this federal mandate without dedicated volunteers from throughout their respective regions.

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From Alyeska: Alyeska staff find creative solutions for safe snow removal

Submitted by Alyeska Corporate Communications.

While spring officially arrived in March, the snow keeps falling in Valdez, the snowiest city in America. The white stuff has long stymied crews at the Valdez Marine Terminal, who often spend weeks clearing snow from areas around the 1,000-acre facility, including crude oil storage tank roofs. It wasn’t always that way.

“When I started here in the mid-nineties, all we had to do was move oil from tank to tank,” said Al Laudert, a Terminal Maintenance Coordinator. “The oil was so warm, enough of it in the tank would make the snow shed right off the top.”

But with declining throughput, the crude oil leaves the North Slope cooler, takes longer to arrive in Valdez, and isn’t warm enough to melt the snow of the tops of the storage tanks. Alyeska has always had a busy snow removal program, but has had to bring in crews for the tank farms since the early 2000s.

The tank top snow removal crews are made up of 7-10 people who can take up to a week to clear off one tank. This shoveling job is quite a bit bigger than your driveway; the roofs are about an acre in area and more than 60 feet off the ground.

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Council board re-elects officers to serve through May 2018

Left to right: Treasurer Wayne Donaldson, who represents the City of Kodiak; Vice President Thane Miller, represents Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corporation; President Amanda Bauer, represents the City of Valdez; Member-at-Large Robert Archibald, representing the City of Homer; Member-at-Large Patience Andersen Faulkner, representing the Cordova District Fishermen United; and Member-at-Large Melissa Berns, who represents the Kodiak Village Mayors Association. Not pictured is Secretary Bob Shavelson, who represents the Oil Spill Region Environmental Coalition. (Photo taken in 2016) 

At the recent board meeting in Valdez, the council’s board of directors elected officers for a new term. The elected executive committee, who will serve from May 2017 to May 2018, is comprised of:

  • President: Amanda Bauer, representing the City of Valdez
  • Vice President: Thane Miller, representing Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corporation
  • Treasurer: Wayne Donaldson, representing the City of Kodiak
  • Secretary: Bob Shavelson, representing the Oil Spill Region Environmental Coalition
  • Three Members-at-Large:
    • Melissa Berns, representing the Kodiak Island Village Mayors Association
    • Robert Archibald, representing the City of Homer
    • Patience Andersen Faulkner, representing Cordova District Fisherman United

The council is very happy to have the support of its many volunteers from all over the Exxon Valdez oil spill region. The new executive committee is an excellent representation of the council.

May 2017 board meeting held in Valdez

Valdez, AlaskaThe Council’s board of directors held a meeting in Valdez on Thursday and Friday, May 4-5, 2017.

Topics on the agenda included:

  • Presentations regarding the change in Alyeska Pipeline Service Company’s marine services contract provider from Crowley Marine Services to Edison Chouest Offshore – set to take place July 1, 2018 – by Alyeska, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, the U.S. Coast Guard and the council. These services include key oil spill prevention and response assets such as escort tugs, oil recovery barges and associated personnel for service in Prince William Sound.

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