Chenega Bay - Cordova - Homer - Kenai Peninsula Borough - Kodiak - Kodiak Island Borough - Kodiak Village Mayors - Seldovia - Seward - Tatitlek - Valdez - Whittier
The Observer VOLUME 13, N 4/DECEMBER 2001
VOLUME 11, NO. O. 3/SEPTEMBER 2003
AK Chamber of Commerce - AK Wilderness Recreation & Tourism Assoc. - Chugach Alaska Corp. - Cordova District Fishermen United - OSREC - PWS Aquaculture Corp.
INSIDE Surprise drill
Volunteer profile: SAC’s demonstrates
Roger Green, p. 2
New faces join council staff
in Anchorage, Valdez, p. 2 drills are needed
Council puts on reception for By Tony Parkin
Kenai assembly, p. 2 Project Manager
At 5 a.m. on June 4, officials of
Devens: Year ahead will the Coast Guard, the state of Alaska,
require vigilance, p. 3 and SeaRiver Maritime walked into
Alyeska Viewpoint: ‘Quiet the headquarters of Alyeska’s Ship
competence’ is goal, p. 4 Escort/Response Vessel System in
Valdez and informed the duty officer
Council wants realistic tanker that a surprise drill was being called,
rescue tests, p. 4 effective immediately.
Experts wanted, p. 4 The scenario: A SeaRiver oil tanker
had sprung a leak near Gold Creek and
Guest opinion: Senator Lisa was in the process of spilling 300,000
Murkowski, p. 5 barrels of North Slope crude into Port
TROG trends at tanker termi- Valdez. The assignment: Clean it up
nal concern council, p. 5 in 72 hours.
(In fact, the 72 hours were com-
New sites for Geographic pressed into a single work day for drill
Response Strategies, p. 5 purposes.)
Council sponsors firefighter The callout culminated months of
training, p. 5 secret planning by the Alaska Depart-
ment of Environmental Conservation,
Polar Discovery double-hull the Coast Guard, and the citizens’
on way to Alaska, p. 6 council. On the day before the drill,
Dispersants at the ready, p. 7 a SeaRiver official was informed in
Community Corner, p. 8 See page 3, Drill
Council is once again honored by U.S.-
Canadian oil spill group for work in Sound NEW BOAT – Valdez turned out in force to welcome its newest resident this
For the second time in its history, coordinator of the task force, are “models summer when the Coast Guard cutter Long Island arrived in its new home port.
the citizens’ council has received the for others in industry, government, and The 110-foot vessel will be stationed full-time in Valdez. Its missions include
Legacy Award bestowed annually by the public to emulate.” search and rescue, homeland security, and domestic fisheries law enforcement.
the Pacific States/British Columbia Oil Legacy awards go to people or Mike Adams photo/Valdez Star.
Spill Task Force.
In conferring the 2003 Legacy Award
organizations that demonstrate inno-
vation, management commitment, and
Council tracks development push as new
at a July ceremony in Hawaii, the task improvements in oil spill prevention, governor and legislators take control
force cited the council’s work on estab- preparedness, or response. Efforts to With the governor’s mansion and successful. Fortunately, none of the mea-
lishing an iceberg-detection radar system promote partnerships and involve the the Alaska House and Senate all in the sures that saw action struck directly at the
in Prince William Sound. Legacy Award hands of pro-development Republicans, heart of the citizens’ council’s mission
winners, said Jean Cameron, executive See page 4, Legacy the 2003 legislative session saw numer- to promote environmentally safe opera-
ous efforts to ease restrictions and regu- tion of the Valdez Marine Terminal and
lations on natural-resource extraction in associated tankers.
the state. However, some measures on envi-
The effort, spearheaded by incom-
ing Gov. Frank Murkowski, was largely See page 6, Juneau
NON PROFIT ORG.
U.S. POSTAGE PAID
PERMIT NO. 836
Executive Director John Devens accepted the Legacy Award from Laurence Lau,
Hawaii’s Deputy Director for Environmental Health and chair of this summer’s BC/
States Task Force conference in Hawaii. Photo courtesy BC/States Task Force.
Volume 13, No. 3 September 2003
New volunteer brings strong record to work on council science committee
When Roger Green joined the Sci- In his home office, federal governments asked him to chair
entific Advisory Committee early this Roger Green sports a three-member committee to oversee
year, the citizens’ council got a top gun a pair of Nerd the design of the numerous studies of
in the field of environmental science. Glasses, official the spill’s environmental impacts. At
Green, who holds a Ph.D. in zool- eyewear of the one point, he recalls, 72 studies were
ogy from Cornell University, has a Scientific Advisory going on simultaneously in the area --
resume’ of research and publication in Committee. stretching from Prince William Sound
environmental science that goes back to Kodiak Island and the Alaska Penin-
almost forty years. His work has taken Photos by Stan Jones, sula -- affected by the giant spill.
him around the world, from Canada to After his retirement from the Uni-
Australia to Asia. He’s written dozens versity of Western Ontario in 1999,
of articles for academic journals, as well Green spent time in Asia, where, among
as a book -- on designing environmental other things, he was visiting professor
studies -- that has become something of at a Malaysian university.
a standard reference in the field. Late last year, Green arrived back
That book, “Sampling Design and in Alaska -- this time to stay a while
Statistical Methods for Environmental -- after his wife took a job as profes-
Biologists,” is still in print 24 years sor in the College of Education at the
after its first publication. The 272- University of Alaska Anchorage.
page volume is available today on Green makes a point “With my whole Prince William
Amazon.Com -- if you have the $150 during a meeting of Sound connection and history, it was
cover price! the committee. very much like going back to some-
More recently, Green helped over- from the College of William and Mary saw thousands of lakes. I said, ‘Boy, thing, which appealed to me,” Green
see the numerous studies done on the in Virginia, followed by four years of there’s a lot I can do here!” said.
impacts of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, work at Cornell for the doctorate he And so it was that Canada became Since settling into a home in south-
and helped design a bowhead whale received in 1965. his base for most of the next three east Anchorage early this year, Green
study on Alaska’s North Slope for the His first exposure to Prince Wil- decades. In addition to his fresh-water has continued his consulting work, is
federal government. liam Sound came long before the work, he did a major bivalve study in writing another book, and has become
“He is a gold mine,” said Lisa Exxon Valdez spill. In 1960 and 1961 Hudson’s Bay. a major contributor on the Scientific
Ka’aihue, the project manager who he was, as he describes it, “summer Over the years, however, he found Advisory Committee.
works with the Scientific Advisory slave labor” in Cordova for the U.S. himself doing less and less field work It took him some time, he said, to
Committee. “Just about everyone in Fish and Wildlife Service. One of his and more and more study design, lead- grasp exactly what the citizens’ council
the environmental science field up here jobs: counting pink salmon. ing to publication of his book on the is and does. It’s a private non-profit
knows and respects Roger and has told After Cornell, he got a Fulbright subject in 1979. corporation, yet it has a government
me how lucky we are to have him as a fellowship that took him to Australia Just as it came out, he took a mandate and a broadly diverse board
volunteer. I also find him unique in that for a two-year study of Queensland’s position at the University of Western of member-entity representatives based
he communicates well with technical Moreton Bay. After that came a job at Ontario. He taught courses and took primarily on geography.
folks as well as lay folks. Many Ph.D. the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institu- on an increasing amount of consult- “It’s forced to be democratic,”
scientists don’t have that ability.” tion in Massachusetts. ing work, which led him to such exotic Green said. “Therefore, it’s going to
Green was born in New York City, Then, in the late 1960s came a job locales as Malaysia, Singapore, and appear to be inefficient at times. But
and moved with his parents to the offer at a fresh-water research insti- Australia. I’m not going to criticize it for being less
Washington, D.C., area in his junior- tute at the University of Manitoba in 1989 saw him involved with Prince efficient than some company, because
high years. After high school, he got a Canada. As he flew into Winnipeg, William Sound again, in the aftermath it’s not a company. I think it operates
bachelor of science degree in biology Green recalls, “Just from the plane, I of the Exxon Valdez spill. The state and the way it has to operate.”
New faces join the council’s staff roster THE OBSERVER is the free quarterly newsletter of the Prince William Sound
Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council. Except as noted, articles are written by
Stan Jones, Public Information Manager. To subscribe, contact him at 907-
273-6230 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, contact a council office (see back page).
Council’s web site gets bigger and better
The councils’ new web site, commissioned digital maps of the citi-
launched in early June, has vastly zens’ council region.
increased the amount of information Work is under way on a comprehen-
available to sive database of
the public on the council’s
the council’s studies and
mission, his- reports, a data-
tory, studies, base of com-
projects, and ments submitted
Two new employees have signed early this month as an intern in the
outreach efforts. by the council to
on with the citizens’ council in the past council’s Valdez office, where she
The site’s calen- regulators and
few months. will be working with staff on oil-spill
dar of events is industry, and a
Tracy Leithauser, above left, preparedness and best available tech-
updated weekly, newsroom page
became permanent in July as Informa- nology issues, conducting research and
as are the The citizens’ council web site can be found posting recent
tion Systems Assistant, after starting as providing administrative support.
“What’s New” at www.pwsrcac.org on the Internet. and past media
a temporary hire last December . Her Horel arrived in Alaska last year.
links on the releases.
largest responsibility is maintaining the She grew up in western Hungary and
home page. Recently added features Please pay us a visit at
council’s web site, www.pwsrcac.org. attended Szechenyi Istvan University,
include photo galleries and specially www.pwsrcac.org.
She works in the Anchorage office. Gyor, where she obtained a bachelor’s
Leithauser has a bachelor’s degree degree in municipal/civil engineering Council throws reception for Kenai assembly
in English from Lewis and Clark Col- and completed most of the work for a The council sponsored a June 17 secretary; Jerry Brookman, chair of
lege in Portland, Oregon and attends degree in transportation engineering. reception at the borough building in the OSPR committee; and staffers
a part-time master’s degree program She attends Prince William Sound Kenai. Members of the Kenai Pen- John Devens, Marilyn Leland and
through the University of Washington. Community College, where she is insula Borough Assembly attended Linda Robinson. Anyone interested
She was raised in Anchorage and enjoys studying for a bachelor of science and discussed some of the council’s in having a reception or presentation in
hiking, snowboarding, running, and the and technology degree in business, current projects. Representing the their community should contact Linda
Chugach Mountains. with a focus on oil spill response/safety council were Steve Lewis, council Robinson, Community Liaison in the
Agota Horel, above right, started management. president; Blake Johnson, council Anchorage office.
Page 2 The Observer
September 2003 Volume 13, No. 3
Past year saw much achievement; coming year will require much vigilance
As summer ends and we put away system to keep track of the huge trove Ensuring these changes don’t lead to a mation to the Environmental Protection
our fishing gear and vacation clothes, of documents accumulated since we relaxation of environmental protections Agency and the Alaska Department of
this is a good time to take stock of what formed 14 years ago. We are placing will require the council to spend more Environmental Conservation on the
the citizen’s council achieved over the more emphasis on getting time, money, and effort on need for air- and water-quality regula-
past year, and the challenges we confront our highly qualified profes- its mission of promoting tions at the terminal.
in the coming year. sional staff into the field for the safe transportation of On the political front, we found it
Our accomplishments included direct observation of opera- Alaska North Slope crude necessary to expend more time and effort
startup of the iceberg radar system in tions by Alyeska and the oil oil. on monitoring legislative and adminis-
Prince William Sound, continued fund- shipping companies. On the corporate front, trative streamlining efforts that could
ing of the Long Term Environmental Under the heading we continue to monitor the affect the safety of oil transportation. We
Monitoring Program, cooperative work of challenges, the most effects of Alyeska’s move, took a major role in providing informa-
with regulators and industry on contin- striking development was launched two years ago, tion and advice to citizens, legislators
gency plan reviews, and unconditional the unfolding of a new to reduce staff and to cut and the executive branch on bills dealing
recertification by the United States corporate and political cli- costs in other ways. Our with the Alaska Coastal Management
Coast Guard. We have also continued mate that will require more concern that complacency Plan, contingency plans, and right-of-
our work on non-indigenous species vigilance by citizens than may set in again, as it did way permits for the Trans-Alaska Pipe-
that come into Prince William Sound ever before. before the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill, line System. We anticipate even more
in ballast water, a problem that will only In Valdez, Alyeska Pipeline Service led us to increase our oversight at the effort will be needed in future years as
increase as the new double hull tankers Co. has undergone another corporate Valdez tanker terminal, including close the state continues to push ahead with
come on line. reorganization, resulting in several hun- attention to the ballast water treatment its streamlining initiatives.
Internally, we have improved dred fewer workers and major changes system, the fire protection system, air As we get further in time from the
operations in several ways. We con- in procedures. In Juneau, our new gov- pollution, and the increase in oily wastes Exxon Valdez spill and the industry con-
ducted a major expansion of our web ernor and state legislature are working to discharged into Prince William Sound. tinues its drive to cut costs, ever more
site, www.pwsrcac.org, and we have increase natural-resource development As part of our efforts in this regard, we vigilance will be required to prevent a
created an electronic management by streamlining the permitting process. conducted research and provided infor- return to complacency.
DRILL: Next one will be less of a surprise
Continued from Page 1
confidence, as were the council staff- skimming operations. Some confusion
ers who were to act as observers and over barge loading and decanting was
controllers during the drill. Otherwise, noted and some lack of realism because
it was a surprise to the participants, as of a “this is only a drill” mindset.
far as can be determined. Overall, the drill was disappointing
Two Transrec barges were mobi- and did not go as well as was hoped
lized, each capable and certainly not
of corralling, skim- as well as previous
ming and storing drills and exercises
over 100,000 bar- “The state can involving deploy-
rels of recovered
oil. Also, the Valdez
hardly call it a sur- ment of theItsameequipment. pro-
Star oil skimming prise drill if they warn duced many lessons
vessel was mobi-
lized, along with
the parties in advance. learned and showed
a need for more
eight fishing ves- We don’t consider this intense and con-
sels and numerous
observation ves- a meaningful test of stant training forAlyeska’s marine
sels and support Alyeska’s readiness to responders. As a
staff. Alyeska’s result, the state of
Valdez Emergency respond to oil spills.” Alaska determined
Operations Center — John Devens that another unan-
was activated to a nounced drill was
limited extent, as necessary before
was the council the end of 2003.
office in the center. However, the state decided to
During the drill, observers and include a shipper representative and
controllers from the state, the Coast the manager of Alyeska’s Ship Escort/
Guard, and the council were in the field Response Vessel System in planning
evaluating the response actions of this this next drill. The state argued that
large equipment deployment. Primary including Alyeska and the shippers
response functions being assessed in the would sharpen the drill planning and
drill were task force management, barge make the upcoming event a more closely
and skimming operations, oil recovery run and scrutinized performance by the
by the Valdez Star, and site control. Site Alyeska crews and their contractors.
control refers to setting up zones on the The citizens’ council has serious
barges and the Valdez Star that suffer concerns about this approach.
various degrees of oiling, and restricting “The state can hardly call it a
movement between the zones. Decon- surprise drill if they warn the parties
tamination and cleaning procedures of in advance,” said Executive Director
the responders and their equipment were John Devens. “We don’t consider this
also exercised. a meaningful test of Alyeska’s readiness
This was a large drill involving to respond to oil spills.”
many responders and three separate As the Observer went to press, the
cleanup platforms and the results varied planners had set the date and scenario
tremendously. Generally, the skimming of the next drill. Since the June drill, an
Scenes from a surprise drill
operations on one barge were successful increase has been observed in Alyeska’s
but due to problems in task force man- training activities in Port Valdez and Top: Council Project Manager Tony Parkin uses chocolate syrup to demonstrate
agement and equipment deployment, everyone expects a far better showing decontamination procedures. Center: Oil skimmers are deployed inside a boom
enclosure during the drill. Bottom: An escort/response tug ties up alongside a
the second barge was slower in starting in the next drill.
TransRec barge. Photos by Becky Lewis and Tony Parkin.
The Observer Page 3
Volume 13, No. 3 September 2003
At Alyeska, “quiet competence” is emerging goal for company workplace
By Greg Jones how to make the performance that shared purpose, and day-to-day atten- Henry Thoreau once wrote that
Senior Vice President both Alaskans and our owners expect tion to detail. “Success usually comes to those who are
Operations and Maintenance “routine.” Alyeska’s Valdez operations are too busy to be looking for it.” He could
Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. Here at Alyeska’s Valdez opera- steadily improving performance against have been describing our employees,
In the ongoing conversation tions, we have a good story to tell. challenging metrics for spills. Thus far whose-day-to day effort begins with tail-
between Alyeska and the citizens’ On July 23, our Ship Escort/Response this year, there have been eleven spills gate safety meetings and incorporates
council about Alyeska’s performance Vessel System, or SERVS, at the terminal or SERVS, daily pursuit of efficiency, cost savings,
and the council’s expectations for that reached a milestone when Alyeska Viewpoint for a total of 20 gallons, 10 application of lessons learned, and a
performance, we each often single out the 9,000 tanker since gallons of which involved renewed emphasis on sharing infor-
particular projects, events or significant establishment of SERVS crude oil (a spill to land mation across organizational lines. We
issues. In this Observer, I would like in 1989 was escorted from a leaking valve seal). ask everyone for their input, and ask
to take a moment to share information safely through Prince Wil- During this same period over ourselves, what is the right thing to do?
about some of the less visible but no liam Sound. We recognize 220 million barrels (or over And we are getting better results. Our
less important aspects of our work by that as an achievement, and 9.3 billion gallons) of crude maintenance team has improved their
which we assess ourselves – aspects a testament to the hard work oil were shipped through the “tool time” – the time spent on the job
of our work that shape our emerging of the men and women of terminal. We’re making as a proportion of total hours worked.
vision of “quiet competence.” SERVS and our contrac- substantial progress in the Our terminal staff have found ways to
In any business -- in our case, the tors, even as together we Greg Jones important safety arena optimize vehicle use, and have been able
transportation of oil -- if one hopes acknowledge that we’re as well. There have been to reduce the size of Alyeska’s vehicle
to be successful it helps to define the only as good as our last escort. three recordable injuries year-to-date fleet. The cafeteria in our new office
criteria for success. At Alyeska, we In May and June, the State Fire in Valdez, and, company-wide, we building has become a place where tech-
determine success (or its opposite) with Marshal’s office conducted an inspec- have a recordable rate that is a third of nicians in coveralls can grab lunch with
reference to “performance metrics” tion of over 300 different Alyeska facili- that from last year, and currently ranks managers, where suggestions are shared
– observable, measurable indicators ties, including those at the terminal. In among the best in the Alaskan oil and and questions asked and answered. Our
that cover the important aspects of our the letter that accompanied his report, gas industry. The goal of “no one gets achievement of our performance metrics
operations. Meeting our performance the fire marshal’s office commented hurt” still remains to be met, but the so far this year has been the result of
metrics is achieved through day-to-day that it was “evident that Alyeska improvement over preceding years is every employee’s effort.
effort. A goal of “no one gets hurt,” management and employees have noteworthy. One group, the Oil Move- We’ve come up with a term for this
for example, is simply a slogan unless been working on the company’s fire ments and Storage team, is setting the effort. We call it “quiet competence.”
no one gets hurt today, and tomorrow, prevention program.” His letter recog- pace, by working safely without a single This day-to-day effort that doesn’t make
and the day after tomorrow, and so on. nized this joint effort as “outstanding” recordable injury over the past three the news is a key component in assuring
The path to achieving such a goal or to and, more importantly, one that “has years. These achievements have taken that we meet our safety, compliance,
meeting any performance metric can made Alyeska a safer place to work.” place while the terminal has moved one environmental and operational objec-
appear “routine.” And that is a chal- While there is still room for improve- million barrels of oil a day, with 100 tives. But then, at Alyeska, we would
lenge for everyone in our workforce: ment, this progress reflects teamwork, percent reliability. rather be competent than newsworthy.
Council wants tanker rescue tests held in realistic Hinchinbrook weather conditions
The citizens’ council has called on that its tugs could successfully rescue a
oil shipping companies and Alyeska tanker in closure conditions.
Pipeline Service Co. to conduct towing The council’s position is that it is
exercises in the kind of harsh weather environmentally unsafe to move oil in
that oil-laden tankers often encounter conditions in which it is unsafe to prac-
at Hinchinbrook Entrance, where they tice saving disabled tankers.
pass from Prince William Sound into “How can it be expected that a rescue
the Gulf of Alaska. can be effected at closure conditions in a
Loaded tankers are allowed to make safe manner if crews are not experienced
the Hinchinbrook passage if seas are less and practiced in operating in such condi-
than 15 feet and winds are less than 45 tions?” Executive Director John Devens
knots (about 52 m.p.h.). But the abil- wrote in a May 14 letter to Alyeska and
ity of Alyeska’s escort tugs to rescue a other participants in the Valdez oil trade.
disabled tanker has been tested only in The council board voted to seek the exer- Alyeska and the tanker companies do conduct towing exercises, but usually in good
weather, as in this photo from August 2002. Photo by Stan Jones, citizens’ council.
much milder weather. The company says cises at its quarterly meeting in Valdez
rescues at closure conditions are too risky earlier that month. ing criteria have been developed, as of for meaningful towing exercises as the
to attempt except in a real emergency, but After the letter was sent, a working Observer press time, one exercise had winter weather sets in after the autumn
maintains that engineering analyses and group was formed to try and bring about been conducted in calm conditions. equinox,” said Project Manager Tony
the trials in mild weather demonstrate the heavy-weather exercises. While test- “We’re going to be pushing hard Parkin.
LEGACY: Radar project award is second one council has received Are you an expert?
Sound are in keeping with the highest lators and industry -- cooperate for the
Continued from Page 1 ideals of excellence in public service and common good,” said John Devens, The citizens’ council routinely
public are favored, according to a task are highly deserving of wider recogni- executive director of the citizens’ coun- retains expert professionals to
force news release. tion,” Swanson wrote. cil. “We’re greatly honored to receive assist us in carrying out research,
The council received a double Captain John Lawrence of Alaska this award.” commenting on contingency plans,
nomination for the award. One came Tanker Company said in his nomination Other recipients of the Legacy peer-reviewing reports, and other
from the US Coast Guard Marine Safety letter that the oil trade and other users Award this year included Titan Mari- tasks related to our mission of pro-
Office in Valdez, and the other from the of Prince William Sound are already time of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; Sause moting safe oil transportation. The
Alaska Tanker Company, which carries benefiting from information provided Brothers Ocean Towing Company of council consults experts in a wide
oil for BP. by the ice radar system on Reef Island. Coos Bay, Oregon; and Margot Brown variety of fields such as oil-related
In his nomination letter, Com- “The project was exemplary in leader- of Alameda, California. environmental law, oil tanker safety,
mander Mark Swanson of the Valdez ship, innovation and commitment to The Pacific States/British Columbia and oil- and hydrocarbon-related
Coast Guard office told the task force that improvement of oil spill prevention,” Oil Spill Task Force has worked since environmental monitoring.
the council’s coordination of the multi- Lawrence wrote. 1989 to coordinate oil-spill prevention If you have expertise that could
stakeholder project “helped ensure the The citizens’ council won its first and response policies affecting thou- benefit the citizens’ council, we invite
ice radar was built years earlier and at Legacy Award in 2000, for developing sands of miles of coastline from the you to fill out a brief survey form.
hundreds of thousands of dollars less a guidebook to aid communities facing Beaufort Sea to the Baja Peninsula and You can download the form at
than if any one organization tried to man-made disasters such as oil spills. the islands of Hawaii. Its members are our web site, www.pwsrcac.org, or
complete the project alone.” “The success of our ice radar proj- directors of the oil spill prevention and request one by phone or email to
The council’s “extraordinary efforts ect illustrates once again what can be response agencies in Hawaii, California, the council office in Anchorage or
to enhance navigational safety and pro- achieved when all the stakeholders in Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Valdez. (See back page for contact
tect the environment of Prince William Prince William Sound -- citizens, regu- and Alaska. information.)
Page 4 The Observer
September 2003 Volume 13, No. 3
Alaska not totally free of invasive species, those pests who come to dine
By U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski are capable of decimating native fish, would be disastrous for Pacific salmon arrival of tankers filling up on Alaska
Most Alaskans consider them- including salmon. using the same streams. North Slope crude. Many of these
selves fortunate to live here. We are Plants can be threats, too. Aquatic Several other species have not yet arrive from ports already infested with
blessed to be a part of the largest, wild- species such as Japanese knotweed, been observed in Alaska, but are con- invasive species. This is a significant
est, most beautiful and most exciting Reed Canarygrass and Foxtail barley sidered imminent threats, and Prince and continuing threat, although to date
state in the Union. are colonizing in some parts William Sound may be only a small number of problems have
And among our many blessings of Alaska. Where they where they show up first. been detected.
has been freedom from the worst thrive, they can overwhelm The European green I strongly support efforts to develop
kinds of exotic invasive species, such Alaskan species. They don’t crab is an example; it technologies and practices to meet this
as the zebra mussels that plague other care that they were supposed became established in Cali- challenge. Among the promising ideas
regions of the country. We can thank to be ornamental additions fornia and has moved as far is a new method of introducing ozone
distance, climate and foresight. to someone’s garden; in north as Vancouver Island. into ballast water when it is pumped
Unfortunately, we cannot be the wild, they are on their It is highly aggressive, and aboard and when it is discharged; so
completely free of invaders that can own. preys on juveniles of other far, it has shown excellent results in
threaten our own indigenous plants But the worst threat may Sen. Murkowski crab species, as well as on removing small biological hitchhikers.
and creatures, nor are we free of the be from species that can’t clams, mussels, urchins, This research has been funded by BP.
responsibility to prevent dangerous read the laws and are adept at hitch- other fish and plants. In Alaska, all The oil industry’s willingness to step
organisms from gaining a foothold. hiking to new places. the major crab species – king, Dunge- forward on this issue should be recog-
Among the most dangerous are aquatic A number of aquatic invasive spe- ness and Tanner – could be at risk if it nized and applauded.
invasive species, because their colonies cies and at least one non-aquatic species becomes established here. Another technology under devel-
may go unnoticed until they are well- of significant concern have found their Another is the Chinese mitten opment involves reducing air pressure
established and harder to eradicate. way to Alaska already. Others are near crab, which is now at home in the San in the ballast water tank and introduc-
Alaska has strong laws to prevent our border, and still more appear to be Francisco area and may be moving ing inert gas via bubbler pipes near the
exotic species from becoming perma- headed our way. northward. One specimen has been bottom. This creates an oxygen-poor
nent residents. It’s too bad such laws Atlantic salmon – escapees from found near the mouth of the Columbia environment that may kill a variety of
only work to deter people from delib- salmon farms in British Columbia or River. Because this creature comes unwanted species, including some too
erately introducing exotic species. Washington state -- are another threat. into fresh water to spawn, potentially large and hardy for ozone treatment.
Even then, some species may find They have been found in streams from moving hundreds of miles up rivers, it These technologies, and others
humans willing to help them out. The Southeast Alaska to Prince William is a serious threat. under development, have a long way
Northern pike now infesting Southcen- Sound, and in ocean waters as far north Larvae of both crab species could to go. But the fact that they are being
tral Alaska drainages come to mind, as the Bering Sea. Natural reproduc- travel in ballast water entering Alaska developed is positive. The problem
along with the yellow perch that some- tion of escaped Atlantic salmon has from Outside. Valdez harbor is espe- of aquatic invasive species is not
one dropped into a lake on the Kenai. been observed in British Columbia cially vulnerable, as it receives the being ignored, and the government’s
Luckily, the latter was discovered and streams, and it is possible this species third-largest volume of ballast water obligation to address it will not be
eradicated – we think. Both species could find a foothold in Alaska that of any U.S. port, due to the regular overlooked.
Council keeps wary eye on TROG trends from the Ballast Water Treatment Facility
The citizens’ council is watching a situation turned around and TROG 2001 to about 238,000 barrels a day in the ballast water facility not produce a
worrisome uptrend in releases of oil and began increasing, according to a coun- July 2003. visible sheen. At the current through-
grease into Prince William Sound from cil analysis of records kept by Alyeska. “It’s something worth watching,” put of 238,000 barrels of ballast water
the Ballast Water Treatment Facility at From an average of 0.6 barrels per day said Tom Kuckertz, the council’s per day, TROG releases would have to
Alyeska’s Valdez tanker terminal. in January 2001, TROG rose to an project manager for terminal-related reach an estimated 3-4 barrels per day
The hydrocarbon content of the average of 0.93 barrels per day in July issues. “It’s contrary to what you to produce a sheen, Kuckertz said.
output from the ballast water facility is of this year. would expect.” The council has asked Alyeska for
called Total Recoverable Oil and Gas, That’s an increase of just over 50 Even with the increases, TROG an explanation but has not made a major
or TROG. From 1994 through 2000, percent, and it came despite the fact levels are not close to exceeding issue of the increases because TROG
TROG releases dropped from about 1 that the amount of water being treated regulatory limits. The main regulatory levels are still well below the regulatory
barrel per day to about half a barrel. at the facility was declining -- from requirement is that TROG in output from threshold.
At the start of 2001, however, the about 253,000 barrels a day in January
New Geographic Response Strategies sites selected Council sponsors firefighter training
This summer, Early in October, the council and shipboard fires.
a work group several partners will make it possible Marine firefighting is different from
that included the for land-based firefighters from coastal land-based firefighting in several ways.
citizens’ council Alaska to travel to Valdez for training For example, marine firefighters have
selected an addi- in fighting shipboard fires. to have a dewatering plan for the vessel
tional 22 sites in The occasion involved. Oth-
Prince William is the third Marine erwise, the water
Sound and the Firefighting for used to extinguish
Copper River delta Land-based Fire- the fire might sink
for development fighters Sympo- the vessel.
of Geographic sium organized The council’s
Response Strate- by the council. It partners in the event
gies, which are oil takes place Oct. 1- include the Alaska
spill response plans 3 and will result in Division of Emer-
One of the new Geographic Response Strategy sites selected
closely tailored to this summer is near the council member community of Tatitlek, college credit from gency Services;
the needs and char- shown above. Photo by Tim Robertson. the Prince William These men participated in the citizens’ Tatitlek Chenega
acter of each site. Sound Community council’s first firefighter training sympo- Chugach, LLC;
College. sium in 1997. Photo by Donn Silvis. Prince William
The sites selected were: Saw- Martin/Fox Island, Northern Wingham
mill Bay (near Valdez), Olsen Bay, Island, Orca Inlet Mouth, and Boswell The curricu- Sound Community
Upper Sheep Bay, Fairmont Island, Bay/Snake Creek. lum is to include live exercises with College; City of Valdez; Alaska Tanker
Lone Island, Point Pellew, South Bay, Geographic Response Strategies hands-on training for fighting fires on Company; SeaRiver Maritime; Polar
Makaka Creek, Windy Bay, Eshamy have already been developed for a total small vessels, at tank farms, and on Tankers; Crowley Marine; Alyeska
Bay, Point Erlington, Stockdale Harbor, of 124 sites in Prince William Sound, oil tankers (subject to the availability Pipeline Service Co.; and the South
McCleod Harbor, Bay of Isles-South the Lower Kenai Peninsula, Kodiak and of a tanker). The training is needed West Alaska Pilots Association.
Arm, Bay of Isles-West Arm, Mouth Cook Inlet. A total of 52 more are under because, in most small communities, Instructors for the symposium are
of Copper River Haul-Out, Inside development, including those selected the local land-based fire department will all firefighters from West Coast fire
Egg Island, Mouth of Bering River, this summer. be the only one available to respond to departments.
The Observer Page 5
Volume 13, No. 3 September 2003
Council opposes loosening of rules on tanker smoke
Canadian conference draws council attendees The citizens’ council is opposing a Opacity of tanker smoke is evalu-
The annual Arctic and Marine Hydrocarbons and Oil Biodegrada-
proposal by the state to allow oil tankers ated visually by trained observers at the
Oilspill Program Conference spon- tion; Countermeasures for Oil Spills:
to continue discharging ballast water and Alyeska terminal. Since 1997, 45 opac-
sored by Environment Canada was a) Containment and Recovery, b) Oil
loading oil at the Valdez terminal even ity violations have been recorded there.
held June 9-12 in Victoria B.C. Attend- Spill Treating Agents, c) In-situ burn-
if they are putting out illegal amounts Several lasted more than three hours, and
ing this year’s conference were Jerry ing; Shoreline Protection and Cleanup;
of smoke. two lasted more than six hours.
Brookman, representing the Oil Spill Detection, Tracking and Remote Sens-
Since the early 1990s, Alyeska Pipe- One of the more famous opacity
Prevention and Response committee; ing; Spill Modeling; Activity Updates
Tom Copeland, Oil Spill Region Envi- and Contingency Planning and Recent
line Service Co. has been required to halt problems occurred in July 2001, when
ronmental Coalition’s representative on Spill Exercises. deballasting and loading if a tanker’s Phillips Petroleum, amid much fanfare,
the council; and staffers Janelle Cowan The council’s papers on dispersant smoke exceeds permitted levels. sailed its first new double-hull tanker,
and Linda Robinson. use were distributed as were other However, Alyeska last year the Polar Endeavour, into Valdez for
Papers presented at this confer- publications of the council. The full requested an end to the shutdown the first time. A certified smoke reader
ence included Physical and Chemical proceedings (two volumes) are avail- requirement, arguing, among other
noted a series of opacity violations by
Properties, and Behaviour of Spilled able at council offices in Anchorage things, that a berthed vessel was not
the Endeavour and by another Phillips
Oil; Biological Effects of Oil and and Valdez. under its operation or control.
tanker at about the same time, and
Though state regulators rejected
Phillips’ shipping arm, Polar Tankers,
Polar Discovery to begin Alaska service other changes sought by Alyeska, they
have proposed granting the company’s eventually paid the state a fine for opac-
The Polar Discov- request on the shutdown requirement. ity violations.
ery, ConocoPhillips’ The council has opposed the change Dropping the shutdown require-
newest double-hull since Alyeska first made its request. The ment, Devens wrote state regulators
tanker, was delivered council, Executive Director John Devens last month, “can only result in longer
in early September to wrote in May 2002, “is very concerned and more frequent opacity violation
Polar Tankers, the oil that the proposed changes to Alyeska’s episodes.”
company’s shipping operating permit will adversely affect The state is expected to make a final
subsidiary. It will join the environmental quality of the Prince decision on the rule by early October
its two sister ships, the William Sound air shed.” of this year.
Polar Endeavour and
Polar Resolution, in
carrying Alaska crude
Council Meeting Schedule
oil to the West Coast The Polar Discovery was delivered to Polar Tankers The citizen’s council board holds quarterly board meetings in March,
and Hawaii. early this month. Photo courtesy ConocoPhillips. May, September and December of each year. The March and Decem-
“We are committed ber, meetings are in Anchorage, the May meeting is in Valdez, and
to operating and maintaining the safest gation systems. Northrop Grumman the September meeting rotates among the council’s other member
and most environmentally sound ves- Ship Systems in Avondale, La., built communities. Here is the meeting schedule for the coming year:
sels available,” said Antonio Valdes, the vessel.
December 2003: Anchorage, Dec. 4-5
general manager of ConocoPhillips’ Two additional Endeavour Class
marine division. tankers are currently under construc- March 2004: Anchorage, March 11-12
The new tanker is an Endeavour tion at the Avondale shipyard and are May 2004: Valdez, May 13-14
Class vessel, with 10 feet of space scheduled for delivery in 2004 and
September 2004: Kenai, Sept. 23-24
between the inner and outer hulls, two 2005, according to a ConocoPhillips
independent engine rooms, redundant press release. The company says its December 2004: Anchorage, Dec. 2-3.
propulsion and twin steering systems, entire U.S. flag tanker fleet will be
For information, contact our Anchorage or Valdez office (see back page).
a bow thruster and state of the art navi- double-hulled by 2008.
JUNEAU: Coastal management program gets a major overhaul from governor, legislators
service areas to impose local enforce- contact legislators and the administration Murkowski’s transmittal letter
Continued from Page 1
able policies regarding air, land, or water with their concerns and their proposals described this measure as making
ronmental issues were of enough gen- quality, or a host of other subjects. for fixing the problems in the bill. air-quality permitting more “effi-
eral concern that the council took action Many districts felt the bill removed After the main coastal management cient” and “predictable.” It was
during the session. Most of our attention their ability to regulate any aspect of bill passed, the situation for local resi- largely the product of an air quality
was focused on two of the governor’s coastal projects to protect their local dents became worse. A House bill that working group of many stakehold-
bills. The measure of greatest interest resources. During hearings, the adminis- initially had nothing to do with the coastal ers, including the citizens’ council.
was one making extensive changes to the tration claimed the core of local authority management program was amended late Among other things, it allows the
Alaska Coastal Management Program, would be retained, but the wording of in the legislative session to restrict the Alaska Department of Environmen-
greatly reducing the role of local commu- the bill makes it doubtful that local com- ability of persons other than local dis- tal Conservation to incorporate some
nities in the permitting of development munities will continue to have the abil- tricts and permit applicants themselves aspects of federal permitting that do
projects. The other measure of council ity to impose meaningful local policies, to appeal coastal management decision. away with individualized permits in
interest lengthened the contingency plan according to Doug Mertz, the council’s The bill also declared all Cook Inlet oil favor of general permits based on best
renewal cycle from three years to five. legislative monitor for the session. and gas projects to be in compliance with management practices.
Alaska Coastal Management Local districts were also concerned coastal management laws. The council retained a contractor to
because the bill requires them to review analyze this measure. After the contrac-
Program Contingency Plan Renewal
and submit changes in current policies tor concluded it comported with the con-
As first introduced, this legislation Cycle
to conform to the new law on a tight clusions of the working group in which
would have eliminated local Coastal Another bill of council interest
schedule without a guarantee of state the council participated, the council
Resource Service Areas, the local increased the period for contingency
financial support. elected not to oppose the bill.
groups that review proposed projects plan renewals from three years to five
for consistency with local regulations, The council was quite active on State Budget
years. The bill passed the Legislature
and the Coastal Policy Council, which this bill, writing several letters to the While the governor’s cuts to the
with little opposition and was signed
hears appeals from consistency deter- administration and to the chairs of com- state budget have made headlines across
into law by the governor. The council
minations. mittees that held hearings on the bill. Alaska all summer, none of them had a
contacted legislators voicing some con-
After much protest by the Alaska The council argued unsuccessfully that major impact on the budget for Spill Pre-
cerns over the bill, but did not actively
Municipal League, the citizens’ council, problems with the bill could best be vention and Response in the Department
and others, the Murkowski administra- resolved by holding it and creating a of Environmental Conservation, which
tion drafted a substitute bill that retained task force of stakeholders to work on it Air Quality Legislation is the state agency most active on issues
the coastal service areas and preserved over the legislative interim. The council tracked a handful of of concern to the council. Most of the
their local enforceable policies - - that In addition, the council organized other bills, but ended up not taking Spill Prevention and Response budget
is, the local rules governing projects in a grass-roots campaign via email to action for or against them. Foremost comes from a dedicated fund based on oil
the coastal zone. advise coastal organizations -- includ- among these was a measure changing flow through the trans-Alaska pipeline,
But the final version of the bill did ing the council’s member entities -- on how air quality emission permits are and that money cannot be used for any
eliminate much of the right of coastal the effects of the bill and how they could processed. other purpose.
Page 6 The Observer
September 2003 Volume 13, No. 3
Dispersants at the ready
1. If a chemical disper-
sant is approved for use
on an oil spill in Prince
William Sound, it will
come from a storage
facility in Anchorage,
where Corexit 9527
is kept in bulk tanks,
left, and in drums, not
2. At the storage facility,
the dispersant would be
pumped into a trailer-
mounted tank, shown
above, and hauled
to Anchorage’s Ted
3. At the airport, the
would be inserted
into the cargo bay
of a Lynden Air
4. At the spill, the Hercules lowers
its cargo door, the spraying rig
extends, and dispersant applica-
tion begins. In these photos,
taken during an exercise early this
month, water was used instead of
dispersant, and the “spill” scene
was in Cook Inlet.
Unanswered questions — Even if dispersants could be delivered and applied to a
North Slope crude spill, should they? The council questions both the effectiveness and toxic-
Photos by Stan Jones and Tony Parkin, ity of dispersants, and wants more research on both topics. The council believes dispersants
should be used only when mechanical recovery methods, such as skimming, aren’t working.
Council Reports Available to the Public
Single copies of scientific and technical reports produced or received by
the citizens’ council are available free to the public. To make a request,
contact either council office listed on the back page of the Observer.
Final report on Coherent UHF radar for ice detection. C-CORE, 7/31/2003.
Final report summarizing the development of an Non-indigenous Species Data-
base. Susan Harvey, Environmental Solutions, 6/2/2003. 952.431.030602.
Final report summarizing the development of the Non-indigenous Species Data-
base as requested by PWSRCAC under contract No. 952.03.1. Susan Harvey,
Environmental Solutions, 4/30/2003. 952.431.030430.ESnisFNLrept.pdf
A letter introducing the analytical reports for the intercomparison samples for
PWS LTEMP Project from the Summer 2002 collection. The three parts to
this are labeled 951.431.030428.LTEMPreportsFolder. Guy J. Denoux, Ph.D,
Geochemical & Environmental Research Group, 4/28/2003. 951.431.0304
Analytical Report Prince William Sound RCAC Long-Term Environmental
Monitoring Project Sample Delivery Group CC741/Analytical Report No.
CC741-A. Geochemical & Environmental Research Group, 4/28/2003. REALITY CHECK – Council project manager Tony Parkin traveled to Norway
951.431.030428.LTEMPcc741&a this summer to observe oil-spill tests using real crude on the ocean. Here, a
Analytical Report Prince William Sound RCAC Long-Term Environmental TransRec skimmer removes crude oil trapped inside a Snurpelense boom. Plans
Monitoring Project Sample Delivery Group CC742/Analytical Report No. to test Alyeska’s OceanBuster boom fell through because of severe weather
CC742-A. Geochemical & Environmental Research Group, 4/28/2003. at the test site in the Frigg oil field approximately 100 miles west of Bergen,
951.431.030428.LTEMPcc472&a.pdf Norway. Photo by Tony Parkin, citizens’ council.
The Observer Page 7
Volume 13, No. 3 September 2003
Tatitlek festival celebrates culture Prince William Sound
of a Prince William Sound village Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council
For the ninth year, the village of industry and US Coast Guard, as well The Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council is
Tatitlek hosted the Tatitlek Heritage as two members of the council staff. an independent, non-profit corporation formed after the 1989 Exxon
Festival. Staffers Tamara Byrnes and All of the crafts made during the Valdez oil spill to minimize the environmental impacts of the trans-
Alaska pipeline terminal and tanker fleet.
I were invited to attend, and it was week were displayed and the high The council has 18 member organizations, including communi-
wonderful to observe students learn- school students entertained with music. ties affected by the Exxon Valdez oil spill and groups representing
ing native crafts and to experience The middle school students presented Alaska Native, aquaculture, environmental, commercial fishing,
their culture. Tatitlek is a fashion show of the gar- recreation and tourism interests in the spill region.
25 miles south of Valdez ments they had made, and The council is certified under the federal Oil Pollution Act of
in Prince William Sound there was a Native Youth 1990 as the citizen advisory group for Prince William Sound, and
and has a population of Olympics demonstration. operates under a contract with Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. The
90. This year 126 stu- Later in the evening, a DJ contract, which is in effect as long as oil flows through the pipeline,
dents from Nanwalek, played music until the guarantees the council’s independence, provides annual funding, and
ensures the council the same access to terminal facilities as state and
Port Graham, Valdez, early hours. federal regulatory agencies.
Cordova, Tetlin/Tok Sue Johnson sug-
(Northway), Anchorage gested that anyone inter-
and Tatitlek partici- ested in donating to the
pated in the festivities auction, helping out in
May 5-9. Visiting Linda Robinson any way, or participat- The council’s mission: Citizens promoting
students were housed in ing in the festival should environmentally safe operation of
Tatitlek’s mariculture building and in contact her at 907-325-2255, or Gary the Alyeska terminal and associated tankers.
the school. Kompkoff at 907-325-2311.
Sue Johnson, who has planned the
Grab Those Crayolas!
event for the past three years, said that
The citizens’ council coloring book
students were divided into groups of Board of Directors
has been published. Thanks to the President: Steve Lewis - City of Seldovia
high school, middle school and pri-
generosity of thirteen artists, the book Vice President - Marilynn Heddell - City of Whittier
mary school students, and offered
is full of the sights of Prince William Secretary: Blake Johnson - Kenai Peninsula Borough
native culture courses throughout Treasurer: Patience Andersen Faulkner - Cordova Dist. Fishermen United
Sound, including animals, fish, flora,
the week. Courses included Native
artifacts and tankers. The book will John Allen - Community of Tatitlek
Youth Olympics with instructor Nick
be distributed at public events that the Louis Beaudry - Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corp.
Randazzo; beading, Phyllis Sanford;
council attends, but if you’d like a copy, Sheri Buretta - Chugach Alaska Corp.
wood carving, Jim Miller and Bob
please give us a call. Al Burch - Kodiak Island Borough
Shaw; skin sewing, Monica Riedel Tom Copeland - Oil Spill Region Environmental Coalition
and Patience Andersen Faulkner (who Alaska Oceans Festivals Jane Eisemann - City of Kodiak
represents Cordova District Fishermen For the first time this year, two John French - City of Seward
Tom Jensen - Alaska State Chamber of Commerce
United on our council); dance and drum, Alaska Oceans Festivals were held to Pete Kompkoff - Community of Chenega Bay
Ben Snowball; dressmaking, Lorinda celebrate Alaska’s waters. The first was Paul McCollum - City of Homer
Vlasoff, and basketmaking, Donna held in Anchorage under blue skies in Jo Ann C. McDowell - City of Valdez
Merek. Rena Belgarde taught fish the park strip downtown. The following Jim Nestic - Kodiak Village Mayors Association
processing, including pickling, smok- weekend the Seward SeaLife Center Rich Nielsen - City of Valdez
Kristin Smith - City of Cordova
ing and canning salmon. hosted a festival called The Last Waves
Stan Stephens - Alaska Wilderness Recreation &Tourism Association
For the of Summer.
third year, Each festival
Tatitlek was had informa-
the first com- tional booths,
vendors and Staff
munity to pull John S. Devens, Executive Director
salmon from music. RCAC
Prince William staff attended
Sound, having both festi- Marilyn Leland, Deputy Director
received a vals with the Gregory Dixon, Financial Manager
special permit booth and a Joe Banta, Project Manager
from Fish and lot of informa- Lisa Ka’aihue, Project Manager
Janelle Cowan, Project Manager
Game. Salmon tion about the
Linda Robinson, Community Liaison
was served organization Stan Jones, Public Information Manager
throughout was distrib- Bernie Cooper, Administrative Assistant
the week, and CULTURE — Margie Vlasoff displays a uted. During Tracy Leithauser, Information Systems Assistant
many jars handicraft made during the Tatitlek Heri- the Seward Valdez
of salmon tage Festival. Photo by Linda Robinson, citi- festival, three Donna Schantz, Program Coordinator
canned by the zens’ council. cruise ships Jennifer Fleming, Executive Assistant
students were were in town Tamara Byrnes, Administrative Assistant
on display with the other craft items and people visiting the booth, which Dan Gilson, Project Manager
Tom Kuckertz, Project Manager
on the final night. included a display about invasive spe-
Rhonda Arvidson, Project Manager
Each evening focused on a special cies, came from all over the world, many Tony Parkin, Project Manager
activity. Monday featured a welcome with stories about concerns they have Agota Horel, Intern
potluck. Tuesday was appreciation with invasive species in their area.
night, this year in honor of teacher Phyl- Upcoming Events
lis Sanford, who has taught in Tatitlek We are preparing for a busy fall.
for nine years. Also recognized was We will be promoting the council and 3709 Spenard Road, Suite 100 339 Hazelet, PO Box 3089
student Theresa Totemoff. providing information to visitors at the Anchorage AK 99503 Valdez AK 99686
Wednesday night was a regional Alaska State Chamber of Commerce Phone: 907-277-7222 Phone: 907-835-5957
Toll-free: 800-478-7221 Toll-free: 877-478-7221
forum, followed by a talent show on Trade show in Kodiak, the annual Fax: 907-277-4523 Fax: 907-835-5926
Thursday. Friday night was the big conference of the North American Email: email@example.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
potlatch and auction (which raised Association for Environmental Edu-
almost $9,000 this year, to be used to cation in Anchorage, the Society
put on next year’s festival.) A boat of Environmental Toxicology and
was chartered from Valdez to bring Chemistry in Austin, Texas, and Fish Internet: www.pwsrcac.org
in personnel and families from the oil Expo in Seattle.
Page 8 The Observer