Funds available for educational projects related to our mission

High school students on an expedition co-funded by this program in 2015 visited Valdez and met with our staff members to learn about the council and improvements in safe oil transportation since 1989.

High school students on an expedition co-funded by this program in 2015 visited Valdez and met with our staff members to learn about the council and improvements in safe oil transportation since 1989..

The council works to educate Exxon Valdez region youth about the environmentally safe operation of the Alyeska terminal and associated tankers. Working with area youth is vital to fight complacency that can arise if new generations of citizens are not continually reminded of the need for ongoing oil spill prevention.

To support this effort, the council is inviting proposals for facilitating learning experiences with Exxon Valdez oil spill region youth.

UPDATE: The deadline for submittals has passed. Please contact Outreach Coordinator Lisa Matlock  for more information about the next application period.  Continue reading

Council representatives visit Louisiana shipyards

Visitors come away impressed with new construction and Edison Chouest Offshore personnel

New information shared with the Council along with tours of Edison Chouest facilities has begun to alleviate some concerns related to the change of marine services contractors in Prince William Sound, some concerns remain.

During the May visit, the Council observed the massive tugs under construction in the shipyard. Left to right: Mike Day of Alyeska, Board member Patience Andersen Faulkner, staff member Roy Robertson, committee volunteer Jim Herbert, and Brett Lirette of Edison Chouest Offshore. Photo by Kate Dugan.

Tours of facilities

Council representatives visited Louisiana in May, June, and October to tour Edison Chouest’s shipyards, headquarters, and training facilities, where the company is building the new escort tugs and response vessels that will make up the Prince William Sound oil spill prevention and response system starting next year.

The visitors were given unfettered access to Edison Chouest’s staff and the opportunity to ask questions about their operations. Those present were impressed with the facilities and the company culture focusing on safety and cultivating competent staff. The quality of workmanship and use of new technologies were also on display. Continue reading

Oil spill contingency plans for Prince William Sound under review

Many changes stemming from transition of marine services contractor to Edison Chouest

Prince William Sound Tanker Oil Spill Contingency Plan

By Linda Swiss
Council Project Manager

Updates to two oil spill prevention and response contingency plans are currently underway. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, or ADEC, solicited public comments regarding the changes to the spill prevention and response plans this past summer.

The plans are prepared by the operators of Alyeska’s marine terminal and oil tankers and are subject to state approval. These plans specify what operators will do to prevent and clean up oil spills. There are separate plans for spills from the Valdez Marine Terminal and from the tankers that carry oil. Both plans undergo an approval process approximately every five years. With the marine services transition in Prince William Sound, Edison Chouest Offshore’s new equipment means the details in the plans will change, triggering a public review.

In 43 pages of formal comments submitted to ADEC in August and September, the Council made a number of recommendations to either maintain the same level of preparedness or improve the proposed plans. Continue reading

North Slope crude oil spills into Port Valdez

Oil collected inside boom during spill. Photo by Jeremy Robida.

Oil collected inside boom during spill. Photo by Jeremy Robida.

On September 21, approximately 100 gallons of North Slope Crude oil was spilled into Port Valdez. The spill occurred during a planned annual leak-test of the pipes that load oil onto tankers out at the end of loading Berth 5 at the Valdez Marine Terminal.

To conduct the annual test, Alyeska Pipeline Service Company uses the berth’s fire system to pump seawater into the crude piping to a pressure of 190 PSI, or pounds per square inch. That pressure is held for a prescribed amount of time to allow inspectors to visually check the pipes for leaks. However, that day Alyeska was unable to achieve the necessary 190 PSI test pressure and an apparent operational error led to a mixture of crude oil and seawater being spilled into Port Valdez. Alyeska is conducting a thorough investigation of the spill.

Continue reading