ADEC releases final ruling for Alaska’s oil spill prevention and response plans

In January 2023, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation updated the regulations governing the state’s oil spill prevention and response contingency plans. The new plans went into effect on February 5, 2023.

Some improvements cleared up confusing and repetitive language. For example, two similar sections, contingency plan content requirements and approval criteria, were combined into a new section.

Other changes concerned the Council, including:

Removal of a requirement that the regional citizens’ advisory councils be notified when plans and amendments are available for review.

Removal of a conference to review new technologies in oil spill prevention and response.

Changes to the schedule and number of operations-based exercises. The new regulations require “at least one” every five years and limit additional exercises to no more than one per year. Previously, the regulations noted “not more than two exercises per year.”

Removal of a requirement for tankers to carry a specific arrangement of towing equipment designed for adverse weather conditions like those often found in Prince William Sound.

Links to the new regulations, as well as the Council’s comments from the last round of public comment, is available on our website: Regulatory Reform

Changes proposed to Alaska’s regulations on oil spill prevention and response

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation recently proposed changes to the regulations that govern how oil spills are prevented and cleaned up in Alaska. These changes were open for public comment from November 2021 through January 2022.


During its review, the Council noted positive changes, including:

  • increased clarity within regulations,
  • combination of redundant sections, and
  • use of technology to modernize workflow.

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Important public comment period now open

Tanker in Prince William SoundUpdate: Deadline has passed.

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) is proposing changes to regulations that protect Prince William Sound. The comment period began on November 1, 2021 and will end January 31, 2022.

Public input on these changes will be critical. The Council is reviewing the changes and will be sharing information on this public comment period and future changes. Please contact staff member Linda Swiss to be added to the email list.

More information: Public input needed to safeguard Prince William Sound

Potential regulation changes to undergo extended public comment period

Before the state’s oil spill regulations are modified, any proposed changes will undergo an extended public comment period, according to Jason Brune, commissioner for the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.

Beginning last fall, the department asked the public for input on Alaska’s statutes and regulations covering oil spill prevention and response.

Brune joined the Council during a September meeting of the Board of Directors to discuss potential changes from these comments. The Council was encouraged to hear a promise from the commissioner that any proposed changes will be given more than the required 30-day public comment period.

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