The United States Coast Guard has announced that Alyeska earned a gold-level William A. Benkert Award for Environmental Excellence. This is the premiere award presented by the Coast Guard that honors members of the marine industry for excellence in areas of marine safety and environmental protection.
The program notes, “Gold level recipients have expended extraordinary effort into protecting the environment and it shows. This biennial award recognizes organizations for outstanding achievements in all aspects of marine environment protection.”
The award specifically reviewed Alyeska’s marine safety and environmental performance between 2018-2019 and included highlights such as the marine services transition, the organization’s safety culture and performance, environmental monitoring, community partnerships, and philanthropy programs. Though the nomination was focused on the Valdez Marine Terminal and Prince William Sound, work around TAPS – like the 2019 Minton Creek exercise and Alyeska’s ongoing work with University Alaska Fairbanks on unmanned aerial vehicles – was also recognized.
“Since joining Alyeska, I’ve seen a resolute commitment to environmental stewardship around the TAPS,” said Alyeska President Brigham McCown. “I know that the support from communities and organizations like the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council is invaluable. The water quality monitoring performed by PWSRCAC serves as important validation of our progress.”
The Benkert Award was created to recognize outstanding achievements in marine environmental protection that go beyond mere compliance with industrial and regulatory standards. It is intended to be a creative exchange of ideas and innovations to everyone’s benefit. It serves as a map for assessing environmental management strengths and weaknesses while stressing a continual improvement.
This environmental award is named for Rear Admiral William M. Benkert (1923-1989), who served at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, DC as Chief of the Office of Marine Environment and Systems from 1972 until 1974, and as Chief of the Office of Merchant Marine Safety from 1974 until 1978. He is fondly remembered as the father of the Coast Guard’s Marine Environmental Protection Program.