Oil Spill Prevention Planning

Exxon Valdez tanker leaking oil in Prince William Sound, April 13, 1989. Photo by Charles N. Ehler. Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Collection, ARLIS.

 The council believes the best way to protect the environment from another disastrous oil spill is to have strong prevention measures in place to prevent the spill from happening in the first place. Photo by Charles N. Ehler. Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Collection, ARLIS.

Through the oil spill prevention planning program, the council develops positions and recommendations on oil spill response technologies; reviews state and federal contingency plans and plan-related issues; promotes compliance with and enforcement and funding of existing environmental regulations; supports maintenance and improvement of the Alaska Coastal Management Program process; and promotes the incorporation of local knowledge of sensitive areas in contingency planning.

Oil Spill Prevention Planning Projects

Please see links in the sidebar for more information on projects within this program.

Recent Oil Spill Prevention Planning News:

Report identifies concerns with tanker escort tugs being built for service in Prince William Sound

The council has identified some areas of concern with the design of the new escort and general purpose tugs under construction by Edison Chouest Offshore for use in Prince William Sound. These concerns and recommendations result from a council-commissioned analysis of the tugs by Robert Allan Ltd., a naval architecture and marine engineering company. Edison Chouest Offshore is taking over the marine services contract for Alyeska Pipeline Service Company in the summer of 2018. Crowley Maritime has held the contract since the creation of Alyeska’s Ship Escort/Response Vessel System after the Exxon Valdez oil spill. The services provided under this contract include escort tugs, general purpose tugs, oil recovery storage barges, and associated personnel, all of which are key oil spill prevention and response assets for the Valdez Marine Terminal and associated oil tankers operating in Prince William Sound. Robert Allan Ltd. was contracted by the council to review and evaluate drawings and other vessel design materials provided by Alyeska Pipeline Service Company. This review includes information that was provided to the council as of December 14, 2016. Print PDF

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New project to review rapidly deployable oil spill boom systems

The council is beginning a review of oil spill containment boom technology that could be used in Port Valdez to deflect or contain crude oil spilled from the Valdez Marine Terminal. The council is specifically looking at options that are: Capable of rapid deployment Are either currently installed at a coastal crude oil transfer facility, or available for use at such a facility Can perform in weather and sea conditions that exist in Port Valdez, Alaska The results of this analysis would help the council recommend the best oil spill boom for use near the Valdez Marine Terminal to reduce the risk of environmental harm caused by an oil spill. Print PDF … Continue reading

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Vessel construction, planning underway for Crowley to Edison Chouest transition

Council conducting independent review of vessel designs By July of 2018, Edison Chouest Offshore, or ECO, of Louisiana will be the marine services contractor for oil tankers and the terminal in Prince William Sound. Until then, Alyeska and ECO will be working with Crowley Maritime, the contractor who currently provides those services, on a smooth transition between the two contractors. These services include escort tugs, general purpose tugs, oil recovery storage barges and associated personnel, all of which are key oil spill prevention and response assets for Prince William Sound. For instance, two state-of-the-art escort tugs accompany every laden tanker that leaves Port Valdez. One tug is tethered through the confined waterway called the Valdez Narrows, and one tug stands by at Hinchinbrook Entrance until the tanker is 17 miles into the Gulf of Alaska. The primary responsibility of these escort tugs is to rescue or “save” a tanker that may experience problems and prevent oil from spilling, and initiate response efforts should these prevention measures fail. Print PDF … Continue reading

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Council applauds decision to keep public engagement tool for spill response in Alaska

Recent council concerns about a proposed change to Alaska’s spill response plan have been alleviated for now. However, the council is following a new proposal that also has the potential to affect stakeholder input. In a letter to the council on September 1, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, or ADEC, announced that its proposal to change the Regional Stakeholder Committee had been withdrawn. The Regional Stakeholder Committee is a vital tool for public involvement during oil spills, and has been effective for communication during spill drills and exercises in Prince William Sound for over a decade. Early in 2016, the Alaska Regional Response Team, or ARRT, a group made up of 15 different federal and state agencies that share responsibilities for managing oil and chemical spill responses in Alaska, proposed changes that could have reduced the council’s, and the public’s, access to important information about a spill. The change would also have reduced citizens’ input to spill response leaders. Involving citizens was recognized by Congress and Alaskans as an important aspect in oil-spill laws and regulations that were overhauled after the Exxon spill. During the public comment period that followed, the council and several local communities and organizations supported keeping the committee as it was, rather than splitting stakeholders into two groups. One of the new groups, which would have included the council, would have received far less information and access to decision-makers than the other. ADEC stated that the workgroup that put the proposal forward met on August 31, at which time a determination was made to withdraw the proposal. Print PDF … Continue reading

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