Resolution Asks Industry to Pay More Toward Oil Spill Prevention, Recovery

The Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council
is asking for the oil and shipping industry to invest more in oil spill
prevention and recovery efforts nationwide. The advisory council said so March
26 by unanimously approving a resolution in support of amendments to the
federal Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund and Oil Pollution Act of 1990.
The next step is to provide copies of the resolution to
Alaska’s congressional delegation for their consideration and potential action.
Copies of the resolution are also going to Alyeska Pipeline Service Co., the
shipping industry serving Alaska, and communities and organizations that
comprise the advisory council.
The resolution supports an increase in the per barrel fee on
petroleum collected at the refinery that is contributed into the Oil Spill
Liability Trust Fund, plus a requirement that all cargo and other commercial
ships using domestic ports nationwide contribute to the trust fund. The
resolution also supports clarifying and facilitating use of the fund for oil
spill prevention measures, and revising oil spill liability limitations in the
Oil Pollution Act of 1990 to re-assign liability from the public to those
utilizing the waterways of the United States for commerce.
The resolution notes that current funding for oil spill prevention
measures nationwide is insufficient, as evidenced by the enormous cost of
injury and damages to terrestrial and marine habitats for fish and wildlife,
the environment and people from oil spills in Prince William Sound and the rest
of the United States.
It notes that the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund is
currently collecting eight cents a barrel on oil shipments—less than one
percent of the current price of oil.
Marine conservation consultant Rick Steiner proposed the
resolution to the RCAC back in December. Steiner, who has consulted with
countries worldwide on oil spill issues, was in Cordova working as a marine
adviser for the University of Alaska when the Exxon Valdez oil spill
disaster occurred.
Steiner said if Congress makes these changes in the federal
legislation there will be substantial funding available for what needs to be
done to secure Alaska’s seas and coasts from the threat of major oil spills,
both from offshore drilling and shipping.
It would be the most significant enhancement in spill
prevention and respond funding in US history, and it wouldn’t cost US taxpayers
a cent, he said.