The Council’s annual report, Year in Review 2022/2023, is now available. This report covers the many programs and projects we’ve been working on over the past year, such as oil spill prevention and response, environmental monitoring, oil spill contingency plans, operations at the Valdez Marine Terminal, invasive species monitoring, our outreach efforts, and much more. Highlights from this year include:
An assessment of risks and safety culture at the Valdez Marine Terminal
Ensuring the adequacy of secondary containment liners for the terminal’s crude oil storage tanks
Supporting solutions for sustainable funding for state spill
prevention and response
Improvements to how the Council monitors weather and sea currents in our region
Monitoring oil spill drills and exercises
Reexamining the Council’s position on use of dispersants in our region
On March 24, 1989, the tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground on a charted rock, Bligh Reef, in Prince William Sound. An estimated 11 million gallons (257,000 barrels) of Alaska North Slope crude oil spilled into the remote, pristine, resource-laden environment, less than 30 miles from Valdez. The oil fouled approximately 1,300 miles of wildlife-abundant shoreline.
Alaskans worked hard to make changes and develop a better system. One of these changes, the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council, works every day to make sure this type of disaster never happens again.
Here are a few of the lessons we’ve documented:
Be prepared. Contingency plans must be in place ahead of time to quickly and effectively respond to an oil spill. More about Alaska’s plans: Contingency Plans
Train responders before a spill: Proper training is essential for an effective response in an emergency situation. More about how local Alaskans are trained to protect their waters: Fishing Vessel Oil Spill Response Training
Prevent spills from happening: One of the biggest lessons is that preventing a spill in the first place is the best way to protect the environment. No spill can ever be completely cleaned up. Oil from the Exxon Valdez spill can still be found in some locations in Prince William Sound. More: Lingering oil (EVOSTC website)
Science Night returned this year, better than ever! This annual event, hosted by the Prince William Regional Citizens Advisory Council, focuses on research related to the safe transportation of oil through Prince William Sound.
When a ship is disabled at sea, an appropriate rescue vessel must respond quickly to prevent an accident. Towing can be dangerous, especially in rough weather, because the rescue tug must get close to connect a towline.
Challenging environment in Alaska
Hinchinbrook Entrance is a narrow waterway that connects Prince William Sound to the Gulf of Alaska. The weather and sailing conditions in the gulf can change rapidly and are often severe.
Tankers carrying millions of gallons of oil regularly pass through the Entrance. Alyeska’s Ship Escort/Response Vessel System must have a tug stationed at the Entrance when laden tankers travel through Prince William Sound.