Cook Inlet Navigator October 2017

Regional Citizens Advisory Council  


View from Land's End Resort, Homer, September 2017

CIRCAC's Board of Directors met September 8 in Homer with a packed agenda, including industry, science and projects updates. We delved into Phase 1 of CIRCAC's Cook Inlet Pipeline Study, Harvest Alaska's proposed cross-inlet pipeline extension, and a presentation by NOAA scientists on findings of the Exxon Valdez Trustee Council's Gulf Watch monitoring program. We had the pleasure of hearing from the new U.S Coast Guard Commander Sector Anchorage, Captain Sean MacKenzie, who has recently begun his three year tour in Alaska. Finally, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation explained their strategy to address the problems posed by abandoned and derelict vessels. Below is a summary of presentations.
USCG Captain Sean MacKenzie with Vinnie Catalano, CIRCAC Director of Operations

Prompted in part by several subsea pipeline integrity issues in 2017, CIRCAC initiated an update to its regulatory study, 2005 Pipeline Risk Assessment ; and the Pipeline & Hazards Management Safety Administration (PHMSA) in April spearheaded a Cook Inlet Pipelines Task Force to focus on pipeline risks. Once finalized, the Task Force findings and CIRCAC's updated report--which is nearing completion--will be used to inform a larger Cook Inlet infrastructure risk assessment of the 200 miles of pipeline in and around Cook Inlet. CIRCAC has tasked this project to Nuka Research which briefed the Board on its scope and progress to date. Phase 1, which is currently under way, has been funded in part by the Kenai Peninsula Borough and consists of compiling an inventory and regulatory update. This phase is scheduled to be completed in time to present to the Board of Directors at our December Meeting.  
The Board also had the opportunity to discuss the details of the Cross Inlet Pipeline Project with representatives from Hilcorp and Harvest Alaska. CIRCAC has been a proponent of a subsea pipeline as the preferred means of transporting oil across the Inlet since 2012. The Cook Inlet Navigation Risk Assessment reinforced our position when it recommended a subsea pipeline as a preferred risk reduction option to tankers. We are supportive of this project and monitoring its progress closely to ensure it is done in a responsible manner.  
NOAA contractors provided some interesting findings regarding Gulf Watch, the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council's long-term Gulf of Alaska monitoring program. Of considerable interest are their findings that a warming trend has been recorded throughout the Gulf of Alaska water column; and how that trend can affect predators and prey by displacing food sources, particularly in winter. The ultimate goal of program is to make all the data accessible across a broad spectrum of users so that it can be synthesized. Data that is already available from both Gulf Watch and CIRCAC are posted on the Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS) website.  
Derelict and abandoned vessels have been a source of concern for the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC), not only as a navigation safety issue but also an issue of environmental degradation, pollution and trespass. ADEC intends to work on passage of legislation during the upcoming Legislative Session to address the issue. The bill will be a reintroduction of Senate Bill 92, which died in Committee last session.  
These presentations, including from Nuka Research, Harvest Alaska, Gulf Watch and ADEC are posted online along with other Council documents and meeting minutes. If you have any questions, comments or would like more information, we'd like to hear from you. 

As one of CIRCAC's longest serving Directors, Paul Shadura brings not only personal but historical perspective to the Council and committees.
When a Unified Command is activated for an oil spill response, CIRCAC staff participates within the Incident Command System (ICS) as a conduit for its stakeholders to bring forth concerns, deliver information, or share local knowledge about the region; and to promote our projects that can add valuable assistance to the response. To be better prepared, throughout the year we participate in oil spill training exercises and drills required under state and federal regulations with Cook Inlet producers and explorers.    
Each drill is different and is designed to test one or more aspects of a response plan.   
Currently, CIRCAC staff have been involved in providing training in the Cook Inlet Response Tool, other AOOS data portals and the Alaska ShoreZone website for the annual Andeavor/Tesoro drill exercise which will take place at CISPRI (Cook Inlet Spill Prevention and Response Inc.) headquarters in Nikiski, on November 2.  
CIRCAC will have 4 staff in the ICS, as well as office support during the exercise. The scenario focuses on a catastrophic tank release on the Kenai Spur Highway, with oil reaching the Inlet. Details of the scenario will only be revealed to participants at the drill itself. 
Coming up:
October 17 - Cook Inlet Harbor Safety Committee Meeting; Draft Agenda 
November 2 - Tesoro Alaska Drill Exercise, Nikiski  
November 16-19 Pacific Marine Expo, Seattle (CIRCAC Booth 4116) 
November 30-December 1 - CIRCAC Board of Directors Meeting, Anchorage

Cook Inlet Regional
Citizens Advisory Council