Council announces election of board officers to serve until May 2025

The Council held its annual board meeting in Valdez, Alaska, on May 2-3, 2024. Among other business, the Board convened to elect officers who will serve from May 2024 to May 2025.

The elected executive committee is comprised of:

  • President: Robert Archibald, representing the City of Homer
  • Vice President: Amanda Bauer, representing the City of Valdez
  • Treasurer: Mako Haggerty, representing the Kenai Peninsula Borough
  • Secretary: Bob Shavelson, representing the Oil Spill Region Environmental Coalition
  • Three Members-at-Large:
    • Ben Cutrell, representing Chugach Alaska Corporation
    • David Janka, representing City of Cordova
    • Angela Totemoff, representing the Community of Tatitlek

“Of all the advances made in the safe transportation of oil since the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, perhaps the most innovative and significant was the establishment of permanent, industry-funded citizen oversight for both Cook Inlet and Prince William Sound,” Robert Archibald said. “Everyone involved should be proud of what has been accomplished since the spill, but we also should never become so satisfied with the current services or processes that we become complacent. Constant vigilance is needed to prevent a return to the pre-1989 complacency that allowed this disaster to happen. I am honored to lead our board for another year as we work toward our shared goal of protecting our communities, economies and environment.”

The Council is grateful 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.

Meet the Executive Committee


Media release: PWSRCAC May 2024 Board officers press release 

Valdez community engages with on-water oil spill response training

Valdez residents watch fishing boats practice pulling oil collection boom during the 2023 tour of Alyeska/SERVS’ oil spill response training. Photo by Dave Janka.

The Council held a tour for locals to observe the annual oil spill response training for fishing vessels in Valdez, Alaska, on May 3, 2023. This has been an annual event since 2016, rotating through several communities in the region, though it was postponed during the height of the COVID pandemic. The Valdez community was invited to join the Council from 12:30 to 3 p.m., on a Stan Stephens Cruises vessel to observe the training.

Valdez High School student Izzy Kizer stated about the event, “We need to know how to prevent [oil spills], but when they do happen, it’s very important to know how to clean them up. Some of these things, they work on a way larger scale than we’re aware of and seeing that helps broaden your perspective.”

The local fishermen participating in the training are contracted by the Ship Escort Response Vessel System, also known as SERVS, to respond in the event of an oil spill from a Prince William Sound tanker or the Valdez Marine Terminal. SERVS is Alyeska Pipeline Service Company’s oil spill removal organization and coordinates annual spill response exercises in multiple Southcentral Alaska communities, including Valdez.

This Council event helps keep communities informed on what oil spill prevention and response measures are in place in Prince William Sound and downstream communities, especially those involving their local fishermen. Valdez residents learned about oil spill response technology, tactics and how this program helps Alyeska operate safely in Prince William Sound. Narrators from both the Council and Alyeska were on board to describe the activities so that participants could better understand the training. We would like to thank our partners, Alyeska/SERVS and Stan Stephens Glacier & Wildlife Cruises, for helping to support this event.

This photo shows three people inside the cabin of the tour boat discussing a piece of an oil skimmer. The piece is a round disc coated in a fuzzy material.
Council staff show a fuzzy disc from a skimmer. The fuzz on the disc is designed to catch more oil than water, which makes it more efficient at collecting oil than traditional skimmers.

”It takes a lot of coordination and cooperation from so many different entities in the community and that’s really fun for the students to see,” said Gilson Middle School teacher Ann Norris. This sentiment was echoed by Mo Radotich, one of several representatives from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation on board the tour. “I think it’s good for us all to get together – from regulatory, industry, RCAC, community members that are here. I think it’s important to see us working together and keep developing those relationships,” said Radotich.

Alyeska’s contracted fishing fleet is the backbone of their oil spill response system. It is essential to the system operating as it was designed to do and part of what makes the Prince William Sound system world-class. These contracted vessels and their crews help ensure the most comprehensive response measures are in place for both open water and nearshore resources. A major lesson of the Exxon Valdez spill was that incorporating local mariners into the spill response system helps ensure a quick, efficient and effective response.

This photo shows
A local fishing vessel practices pulling oil spill boom in formation with an oil spill response barge. Several of these barges are staged in Prince William Sound to be ready in case of a spill.

Since the inception of SERVS after the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the Council has been highly supportive of local fishermen and mariners being trained annually with the best available technology to prepare for oil spills. Valdez mariners have the most intimate knowledge of, and connection to, the waters in and around Valdez. Their involvement would help protect the most sensitive areas, such as hatcheries and spawning streams, from spilled oil.

“It’s such an integral part of our community. We’re so dedicated to the fishing industry, so protecting that resource is paramount,” said Valdez resident Shannon Day. “It’s important for us as adults to know about this, for the children to be exposed to it, so that they have the same love and dedication as they grow up.”

The Council has held previous fishing vessel oil spill response training tours in Seward, Whittier, Cordova and Homer. The Council hopes that through such programs communities will understand the importance of oil spill prevention and having the most robust response strategies in place in the event of a spill.

“You know what, I’ve lived in Valdez for 21 years, and spent a lot of time in the Sound. Today I learned a lot of stuff about oil spill response and different functions of Alyeska,” said Gilson Middle School principal Rod Morrison. “If we don’t learn about it, there’s a danger that it could happen again. The [Exxon Valdez] oil spill was terrible and some of the precautions we have in place now will help prevent that from happening again, but we also have a great system if it does happen again.”

Valdez Board meeting and community events May 3-5

Board of Directors meeting May 4 and 5

The Council’s Board of Directors will convene at the Valdez Convention & Civic Center in Valdez, Alaska on May 4 and 5, 2023. The meeting will also be streamed online for those unable to travel.

Community events on May 3

Meeting location: Valdez Convention & Civic Center

On the agenda

The tentative schedule for the Thursday session is from 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. On Friday, the meeting is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The meeting is open to the public, except for executive sessions. Public comments are scheduled to be taken on Thursday starting at 8:40 a.m. Those wishing to speak during public comments are highly encouraged to sign up ahead of time by emailing Jennifer Fleming.

The Council will be conducting regular business during the meeting, including seating of established directors and committee members, election of new board officers, and updates from Council ex-officio members, staff and committees. Other topics included on the agenda are:

  • An activity report by Alyeska Pipeline Service Company on the Valdez Marine Terminal and Ship Escort/Response Vessel System operations.
  • A summary by Council staff of changes to Article 4 of 18 AAC 75 oil discharge prevention and contingency plan regulations implemented by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation on February 5, 2023.
  • A report on research conducted to understand the environmental impacts of the oil spill that occurred at the Valdez Marine Terminal on April 12, 2020.
  • An overview of Council-commissioned review on the evolution of regulatory requirements affecting the transition of ocean shipping, and tankers in particular, to a sustainable model.
  • A report on an analysis of Alaska North Slope oil and how the oil properties could influence the effectiveness of oil spill response measures.
  • A summary of the Council’s monitoring of drills and exercises in 2022.
  • An update on community outreach activities done by the Council over the past year.
  • A report from the Council’s legislative monitors and staff on political developments and prospects coming out of Washington, D.C., and Juneau.

Anyone exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, flu, or cold should attend virtually.

The meeting agenda is subject to change before or during the meeting. Council board meetings are routinely recorded and may be disseminated to the public by the Council or by the news media.


Community events on May 3

Join the Council on a cruise (12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.)

On Wednesday afternoon, the Council is sponsoring a 2.5-hour cruise to observe how Alyeska trains their contracted fishing fleet to respond to an oil spill. These local vessels and crews are the backbone of Alyeska’s oil spill response system. Learn how they help Alyeska stay prepared for an oil spill emergency.

The Stan Stephens’ Glacier Spirit will depart at 12:30 p.m. and return around 3 p.m.

Pre-registration required: Each passenger will need to reserve their seat by filling out this registration form (please submit one per passenger): Community Tour of SERVS Oil Spill Response Training, Valdez AK

Community reception (5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.)

Alaska Tanker Company, Hilcorp, and the Council will be co-sponsoring a community reception. The reception will be held outdoors from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Kelsey Municipal Plaza, at 412 Ferry Way (map). In the event of inclement weather, the venue will shift to the Valdez Civic Center located at 110 Clifton Drive.


 

Board of Directors met in Anchorage

The Council’s Board of Directors met in Anchorage on January 26 and 27, 2023. 

Final agenda and meeting materials: Board of Directors Meeting, January 2023

The Council conducted regular business during the meeting, including updates from Council ex officio members, staff, and committees. Other topics included on the agenda were:

  • An activity report by Alyeska Pipeline Service Company on the Valdez Marine Terminal and Ship Escort Response Vessel System operations.
  • An update on State of Alaska Article 4 oil discharge prevention and contingency plan regulations from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation’s Spill Prevention and Response Division Director Tiffany Larson.
  • A report on how to evaluate the integrity of liners integral to the effectiveness of the secondary containment systems around the tanks at the Valdez Marine Terminal; the liners are intended to hold oil in the event of a spill until clean up can occur.
  • A report on data analyzed from Council weather buoys in Port Valdez from 2019-2021.
  • An update and discussion on changes proposed by the Alaska Regional Response Team to the Regional Stakeholder Committee process during an oil spill.
  • A presentation on aerial forage fish surveys conducted in Prince William Sound in June of 2022.
  • A review of materials created to support the Council’s dispersant use position, updated in September 2022.
  • A summary by Council staff of incidents (e.g., oil spills, fires, malfunctions causing shutdowns, navigational closures, tanker/escort incidents) at the terminal, on Ship Escort Response Vessel System tugs and barges or on associated tankers that occurred in 2022.
  • The appointment of new representatives to the Cordova District Fisherman United and City of Cordova seats, as well as creation and appointment of a temporary recreation seat on the Council’s board of directors.

Council board meetings are routinely recorded and may be disseminated to the public by the Council or by the news media.


 

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