House Agrees Standards For Shipping, Oil Pollution Preparedness Needed

The House today agreed with the Senate’s request that the Arctic Council Task Force consider Alaska’s interests in establishing standards for shipping and oil pollution preparedness for Arctic waters.

Bethel Democrat Bob Herron,  in presenting the resolution that had already passed the Senate,  said the state is looking for requirements that all vessels in the Aleutians and the Bering Straits have adequate oil spill contingency plans,  and that they voluntarily comply with the state’s oil spill and response rules.

“As you know, there have been recent events that have impacted the Aleutian Islands. Cooperation will be the key in successful prevention-response efforts.  We don’t have jurisdiction over international waters. But this is one way that Alaska will be able to protect our shores by participating in this important dialog.”

Dillingham’s Bryce Edgmond (D) said that the Arctic Council is currently involved in shaping policy for future Arctic development.  However, he said the group could easily become a body that makes decisions on activities.

The Arctic Council Task Force for Arctic Marine Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response will begin its meetings in Girdwood next week.

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