Quick response can deflect or minimize impacts to resources. Required by state and federal law, contingency plans describe the procedures, personnel, equipment, and resources to be mobilized in the event of an oil spill. CIRCAC has been proactive in ensuring that oil discharge prevention and contingency plans for the Cook Inlet area meet, and in some cases, exceed regulatory compliance.
Contingency plan review is fundamental to CIRCAC’s responsibilities as a citizen representative. CIRCAC first evaluated Cook Inlet operators in 1992 and developed and adopted protocols to guide our review process for vessels and both onshore and offshore facilities. Through CIRCAC’s Contingency Plan Review program–overseen by our Protocol Control Committee–we work to ensure that measures and considerations are in place to prevent spills, speed response and decrease chances of long-term impacts.
Through review of permits, policies, and site-specific regulations relating to oil terminal facilities, crude oil tanker operations and maintenance, CIRCAC supplies respected input affecting legislation, federal rules, policy decisions and reports that play a role in prevention and response measures.
To date, CIRCAC has conducted hundreds of reviews and developed comments and recommendations for oil discharge prevention and contingency plans, various proposed and existing regulations, technical manuals, and proposed rule changes including the Alaska Unified Plan and the Cook Inlet and Kodiak Sub-area Plans.
We extensively reviewed the Alaska Pollutant Discharge Elimination Permit and National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Permit for Cook Inlet oil and gas exploration, and stressed that the proposed permit limits and mixing zones should be reevaluated and recalculated to ensure that the total concentrations and pollutant loadings are not increase, but that every effort be made to move toward zero discharge.