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[Study] Responding to Oil Spills in U.S. Arctic

By MarEx 2014-04-24 10:47:00

The National Research Council released a report co-sponsored by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) entitled, "Responding to Oil Spills in the U.S. Arctic Marine Environment."

U.S. Arctic waters north of the Bering Strait and west of the Canadian border encompass a vast area that is usually ice covered for much of the year, but is increasingly experiencing longer periods and larger areas of open water due to climate change. Sparsely inhabited with a wide variety of ecosystems found nowhere else, this region is vulnerable to damage from human activities. As oil and gas, shipping, and tourism activities increase, the possibilities of an oil spill also increase. How can we best prepare to respond to such an event in this challenging environment?

BSEE Director Brian Salerno released the following statement: “We appreciate the National Research Council's work to assess the current state of science and engineering regarding oil spill impacts in the Arctic. BSEE co-sponsored this study to leverage the resources of the National Academies of Science with our robust oil spill response research program as we work to enhance preparedness and emergency response capabilities in the Arctic. We look forward to reviewing the committee's recommendations and to continued collaboration with our federal and state partners to enhance worker safety and environmental protection in the Arctic.”

The full report can be found here.

BSEE manages a $14.9 million oil spill response research program. The Bureau also operates the nation’s largest saltwater test tank for oil spill response equipment and technologies, and recently conducted testing in Arctic-like conditions for recovery technologies and dispersant effectiveness.