Board passes resolution commending Douglas K. Mertz

Resolution 19-02:

Commending and Expressing Gratitude for Douglas K. Mertz’s Dedication
and Service to the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council and the State of Alaska

Photo of appreciation gift presented to Doug Mertz and Margo Waring.
Appreciation gift presented to Doug Mertz and Margo Waring by Board President Robert Archibald and Executive Director Donna Schantz on May 3, 2019.

Whereas, Douglas K. Mertz launched his Alaska legal career in 1974 as Law Clerk to Hon. Jay A. Rabinowitz, Chief Justice of the Alaska Supreme Court, quickly advancing to several Assistant Attorney General positions he held in Fairbanks and Juneau from 1975 to 1991, before entering private law practice in 1991;

Whereas, one of Doug Mertz’s primary areas of focus in over 45 years of legal practice in Alaska has been oil transportation and pollution issues;

Whereas, Doug Mertz was the State of Alaska’s primary counsel on spill matters and Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) regulation from 1977-1990;

Whereas, Doug Mertz represented the State for the Chevron v. Hammond case in the U.S. Court of Appeals, establishing that state oil spill penalties are not preempted by federal law;

Read moreBoard passes resolution commending Douglas K. Mertz

Recognizing the 30th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill

Resolution 19-01:

Recognizing the 30th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, supporting high standards and safeguards for the Valdez Marine Terminal and associated tankers, and continued work to create the best response system possible should prevention measures fail

Floating oil spill boom from Exxon Valdez oil spill
Tangled boom from the 1989 cleanup. Photo by Charles Ehler, courtesy of Alaska Resource Library & Information Services.

Whereas, on March 24, 1989, the Exxon Valdez ran aground on Bligh Reef and spilled an estimated 11 million gallons of crude oil and oiling some 1,300 miles of Alaska coastline;

Whereas, March 24, 2019, marks 30 years since this disaster;

Whereas, Congress determined that complacency on the part of industry and government was a contributing factor in the accident and mandated citizen involvement in the oversight of crude oil terminals and tankers;

Whereas, the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council, an independent non-profit corporation whose mission, as mandated by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, is to promote environmentally safe operation of the Valdez Marine Terminal and associated tankers;

Whereas, the Council represents communities, commercial fishing, aquaculture, Alaska Native, recreation, tourism, and environmental organizations in the region adversely impacted by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill;

Read moreRecognizing the 30th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill

Council issues position on safe crude oil tanker transit and escort vessel operation in the Sound

The Seward spill response fleet trains for spill response.

The Council voted unanimously on January 18, 2018, to pass a resolution stating that oil tankers and escort vessels should not be permitted to transit through Prince William Sound and into the Gulf of Alaska in weather conditions which have been determined by industry to be unsafe for training.

The resolution was prompted by the upcoming change in marine service contract providers by Alyeska Pipeline Service Company’s Ship Escort/Response Vessel System, including crude oil tanker escort vessel services, effective July 2018. Council executive director Donna Schantz stated, “The oil tanker escort system in Prince William Sound is an essential oil spill prevention measure that is vital to reducing the risk of another catastrophic event, such as the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill.”

“If it is unsafe to train personnel, it is unsafe to transport oil,” said Council Board president Amanda Bauer. “This position does not just apply to the incoming contractor, but sets the standard to which the council feels all future new contractors, equipment and crews should be held. We believe strongly that these standards are needed to ensure the economic and environmental safety of the communities and groups we represent.”

Read moreCouncil issues position on safe crude oil tanker transit and escort vessel operation in the Sound

Resolution in support of Exxon Valdez “Reopener for Unknown Injury”

The council's directors in Kodiak at the September 2015 board meeting.
The council’s directors in Kodiak at the September 2015 board meeting.

On Friday, September 18, 2015, the council’s board of directors unanimously passed a resolution in support of the “Reopener for Unknown Injury” from the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Multiple citizens called in during the public comment period to voice their opinions about this important issue.

Media release: Citizens’ Oversight Council calls for Agreement on Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Restoration

Resolution 15-07 – “Supporting Habitat Restoration Pursuant to Damages Caused by the 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill – in support of a meeting between the United States, the State of Alaska, Exxon, Inc., and the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustees Council.”

Full text of Resolution 15-07

Supporting Habitat Restoration Pursuant to Damages
Caused by the 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill

WHEREAS, the Exxon Valdez Settlement Agreement contains a reopener clause allowing the federal or state government to request additional funds from Exxon due to unanticipated remaining oil in the environment and subsequent failure of species to recover within Prince William Sound;

WHEREAS, in 2006, the United States and the State of Alaska presented to Exxon a comprehensive project plan for the cleanup of lingering oil at an estimated cost of $92 million;

Read moreResolution in support of Exxon Valdez “Reopener for Unknown Injury”