Alaska Oil Spill Respons May Suffer Due To BP Deepwater Spill

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Maggie Wall/KMXT

Oil spill response efforts in Alaska could be adversely affected if the Coast Guard or federal government determine that clean-up equipment is needed for the Gulf of Mexico spill.

That is the concern expressed by Mark Swanson, Executive Director of the Prince William Sound Regional Citizen’s Advisory Council.

The PWSRCAC sent a letter last Friday to the Coast Guard saying that it wants to support the Gulf residents’ efforts to clean up the mess created by the Deepwater Horizon incident. Swanson said it would be a "tragic irony" if Alaska’s resources were sent south and then something happened in Alaska that could not be effectively managed.

Swanson added that PWSRCAC did not view the equipment needed for the protection of environmentally sensitive areas as excess equipment.

KMXT’s Maggie Wall has a local perspective on this story.

Oil Spill Equipment 1 3:10 sec "The Coast Guard…SOC."

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The Coast Guard recently issued a directive to review oil spill clean-up resources in Alaska to determine what equipment could be considered excess that could be sent to the Gulf of Mexico.

The federal government describes excess as being more than needed to clean-up what’s called the "Average Most Probable Discharge". In Alaska, that translates into just enough to clean up 50 barrels of oil- literally less than a drop in a bucket compared to the 11 million gallons that spilled from the Exxon Valdez in 1989.

Oil Spill Equipment 24 June 2010 continued Maggie/KMXT

The possibility of losing all but enough to clean 50 barrels of oil doesn’t sit well with many.

Jane Eisemann, is a Kodiak teacher who was expecting to go fishing for herring, salmon and halibut in 1989. She now serves on the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens Advisory Council. She said she doesn’t speak for the group, but has done some research into the matter.

The federal government may be scoping out our clean-up gear based on federal definitions of excess. But Eisemann says Alaska’s requirements for oil spill clean-up are much more rigorous than at the federal level…..

Oil Spill Equipment 1 :41 sec "My perspective is…required by law."

Kodiak was one of the many communities that struggled to get out from under the problems caused by the 1989 spill. Since then both the PWSRCAC and a sister organization in Cook Inlet have worked with industry to make the regions safer from future oil spills.

Eisemann says each business is responsible for their own oil contingencies and the amount of equipment on hand…

Oil Spill Equipment 2 :15 sec "Every company…as far as amounts."

Eisemann said she feels deeply for the people of the Gulf region.

She also wants to ensure that Alaskans have the protection they need in the event of another large oil spill up here.

I’m Maggie Wall.

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