Council Board of Directors met in Whittier

Whittier Alaska. Photo by Bill Rome.

The Council’s Board of Directors met in Whittier on Thursday and Friday, September 14 and 15. Topics on the agenda included:

  • Presentations by Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and the council regarding the change in Alyeska’s marine services contract provider from Crowley Marine Services to Edison Chouest Offshore set to take place July 1, 2018. 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.
  • A presentation by council staff and contractors Nuka Research and Planning Group and Little River Marine Consultants on recommended modeling, field demonstrations and training to be conducted as part of the transition from Crowley Marine Services to Edison Chouest Offshore.
  • A presentation by council staff on the status of amendments to the Prince William Sound Tanker Oil Discharge Prevention and Contingency Plan and Alyeska’s Valdez Marine Terminal Oil Discharge Prevention and Contingency Plan.
  • A report of the council’s monitoring of drills and exercises in 2016.
  • A panel discussion regarding a recent Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council study on the status of Prince William Sound herring and its conclusions, along with other recent research.

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Oil spill contingency plan reviewers needed

Prince William Sound Tanker Oil Spill Contingency Plan

The Council is looking for experts who are familiar with oil spill contingency planning issues in Alaska to help the Council review spill contingency plans related to the Alyeska terminal and associated tankers.

The Council participates in public reviews related to:

  • The Prince William Sound crude oil tanker oil spill contingency plans
  • The Valdez Marine Terminal oil spill contingency plan
  • Federal/State Preparedness Plans for Response to Oil and Hazardous Substance Discharges/Releases.
  • Review and implementation of conditions of plan approvals placed on the plans by state or federal regulatory agencies
  • Other continuous improvement processes, proposed amendments to the plans, and other plan-related issues when appropriate

We are hoping to identify and pre-qualify technical experts who may be called upon to offer expert advice on the Council’s issues and concerns. Interested technical experts are encouraged to submit a statement of qualifications listing their expertise for consideration.

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Planning for marine services changeover under way

The changeover for the marine services contract for Alyeska is underway. By July of 2018, Edison Chouest Offshore, or ECO, of Louisiana will replace Crowley Marine Services for prevention and response services in Prince William Sound. Crowley Marine Services has held the contract since the creation of Alyeska’s Ship Escort/Response Vessel System after the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

Changeover planning

Most of the current activity involves planning for the change. Even though the new vessels will not be arriving in Alaska until next year, ECO will be hiring personnel this year to begin training.

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Davin Holen: Social scientist uses knowledge of subsistence fisheries to help communities adapt to changing environments

Holen, in Sitka harbor, assisting the Sitka Tribe of Alaska to weigh herring roe on branches.

At 17, Davin Holen left his home in the woods outside of Wasilla, Alaska, to travel the world. He lived and studied in South America and Europe for several years before joining the Peace Corps, where he ended up in Mali, West Africa, living in a small mud hut on the edge of the Sierra Desert with his wife, Cara.

“No running water, no electricity. It was like camping in the desert for two and a half years,” Holen says.

Holen’s experience in Africa sparked a curiosity about human culture that has turned into his life’s work.

“I was really interested in people’s interactions with the environment, especially in a subsistence economy.”

He realized that even though he grew up in Alaska, he did not know much about the cultures in his home state. He returned from Africa and enrolled in the Master’s program at the University of Alaska Anchorage in Applied Cultural Anthropology. The department was brand new, and Holen was its first graduate.

After earning his degree, he went to work for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Subsistence, working his way up from an internship to program manager over 15 years. Holen assessed subsistence harvests all over the state, from Southeast Alaska to the Arctic. He tried to understand and document these fisheries, in order to anticipate problems that could arise, so he could find ways to address upcoming expected needs.

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