Despite the numerous challenges we’ve all faced over the past year, CIRCAC has been able to continue conducting its business remotely and the December 4th CIRCAC Board of Directors meeting was held via video conference. The Board was happy to welcome two new Ex-Officio members to the organization; Anthony Strupulis from the State Pipeline Coordinator’s Office and USCG Capt. Leanne Lusk, Commander, Sector Anchorage.
This was Capt. Lusk’s first CIRCAC Board meeting and she gave a brief presentation about her new assignment, which started in July. Sector Anchorage is the Coast Guard’s largest in terms of geographic area, with jurisdiction stretching from the Aleutians to the North Slope to Prince William Sound. We welcome Capt. Lusk and look forward to working with her and her staff in the years ahead to ensure continued safe transportation and maritime operations in Cook Inlet.
Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Jason Brune attended the meeting and gave another update on ADEC’s review of state statutes and regulations regarding oil spill contingency plans and anticipates recommendations to be made public later this year.
As we have stated since this process began, it is our position that any changes to state statute regarding oil spill preparedness and prevention laws should only strengthen current protections. While we acknowledge the budget issues facing Alaska, our focus will continue to be ensuring that no shortcuts are taken that could increase oil spill risks to Cook Inlet’s sensitive and valuable resources. DEC has absorbed budget shortfalls and staffing cuts for several consecutive years and we encourage the administration to take steps that will reverse the funding and staffing trajectory of DEC.