The 26th Alaska State Legislature, 2009 - 2010||
Sponsor Statement: House Joint Resolution 19
Oil Tanker Escort Vessels/Oil Spill Anniv
|Signed Into Law! Legis Resolve 5|
Sponsored by Rep. Alan Austerman
Co-Sponsors: Rep. Harris, Rep. Gara, Rep. Guttenberg, Rep. Lynn, Sen. Gardner, Rep. Kerttula, Rep. Seaton, Rep. Thomas, Rep. Stoltze, Rep. Herron, Rep. Buch, Sen. French, Sen. Wagoner, Sen. Ellis, Sen. Wielechowski, Sen. Paskvan, Sen. Menard, Rep. Thomas, Sen. Stevens
“Recognizing the 20th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill and supporting the continued practice of accompanying each oil tanker through Prince William Sound with at least a two vessel escort.”
Posted: March 6, 2009
Status: Legis Resolve 5 : 2009-07-13
House Joint Resolution 19 recognizes the 20th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill and supports continuation of the practice of dual tug escorts for loaded oil tankers traversing Prince William Sound.
Currently, Trans-Alaska Pipeline System oil tankers in Prince William Sound are required to have two tug escorts when carrying oil. This is in accordance with the Oil Spill Prevention Act of 1990, a federal mandate. This act does not require tug escorts for double hull tankers, however. At the present time, all but two tankers engaged in the TAPS trade are double-hulled ships.
The regulations keeping the escort system in place for all tankers—including double-hulled tankers—are embodied in the oil spill contingency plans filed by oil shippers with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. While the shippers say they do not envision changes in the escort system in the immediate future, these plans are as a matter of fact subject to review and amendment by the shippers at any time.
The current escort system is a vital component in preventing catastrophic oil spills in Prince William Sound and in responding when oil spills occur. It should be retained to assure the continued protection of Alaska’s fisheries resources, both commercial and recreational, along with traditional subsistence uses, tourism, and the many other uses of the natural resources of Prince William Sound and the adjacent Gulf of Alaska. While HJR 19 carries no legal force, it will educate Alaskans, spark debate, and put the Alaska Legislature on record as supporting the continued operation of the world-class escort system in Prince William Sound.