Advisory council to host meetings in Homer this week

The Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council will hold two in events in Homer this week, including their two-day annual September board meeting on Thursday and Friday and a public reception on Thursday evening.

The advisory council was formed after the Exxon-Valdez oil spill to provide a voice for citizens affected by decisions related to the Alyeska pipeline terminal and associated tankers, according to their website. The members of the board represent communities in Prince William Sound as well as Homer, Tatitlek, Seldovia and Kodiak.

The annual board meeting will include regular business, such as updates from ex officio council members, staff and committees, as well as agenda items.

In a press release provided by the council, other topics on the agenda will include an activity report by Alyeska Pipeline Service Company on the Valdez Marine Terminal and Ship Escort Response Vessel System operations, including an update on Alyeska’s efforts to address concerns identified in the council’s report “Assessment of Risks and Safety Culture at the Valdez Marine Terminal.”

Representatives from Polar Tankers will present on the vetting process for foreign-flagged tankers brought into the region.

For environmental monitoring topics, there will be a presentation on marine bird surveys conducted in Prince William Sound in March of 2023; a summary of data analyzed from the council’s weather buoys located near the Valdez Marine Terminal and Valdez Duck Flats; and a report on an analysis of samples taken from the Valdez Marine Terminal’s Ballast Water Treatment Facility to identify a component of hydrocarbons not currently monitored or regulated, known as hydrocarbon oxidation products, according to the press release.

Two features related specifically to the Port of Valdez are the consideration of a resolution urging the U.S. Coast Guard to homeport a sentinel-class, also known as fast-response, cutter in Port Valdez, and an update from council staff on efforts to address the issues and recommendations included in the council’s April 2023 report.

There will also be a presentation on the updated “Peer Listener Training Manual,” an appendix to the Council’s “Coping with Technological Disasters — A User-Friendly Guidebook.”

In general, the regional citizens’ advisory council works in six featured areas: environmental monitoring; oil spill prevention and planning; oil spill response operations; terminal operations; maritime operations; and community outreach, according to their website.

More information on these areas is available on the RCAC website An agenda for the Homer meetings as well as other meeting materials is provided on that website.

The Thursday and Friday board meetings will take place in the Islands and Oceans Visitors Center, at 95 Sterling Highway in Homer. The meeting is open to the public, except for executive sessions.

The Thursday session will begin at 8:30 a.m. with public comments scheduled to be received at 8:55 a.m. Those wishing to provide comments are encouraged to sign up ahead of time by emailing Jennifer Fleming, The Friday session will start at 9 a.m.

On Thursday, the Pratt Museum will host a public reception for the board in the community room downstairs from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

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