Arctic:Oil Spill Response Exercise
1st June 2012
Officials from the United States` Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) this week participated in an all-day table top exercise simulating the response to a well blowout in the Chukchi Sea.
The exercise, planned over the past several months, included representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the State of Alaska and the North Slope Borough, as well as officials from Shell.
BSEE is conducting a series of planned and unannounced exercises and inspections throughout the year to test industry’s ability to meet the conditions of their oil spill response plans and effectively respond to a potential spill in the Arctic, in the event that exploratory drilling activities are approved. The Bureau will also participate in joint exercises, such as yesterday’s
event, to evaluate and improve communication and coordination among federal and state partners and the company.
“This exercise allowed us to do a large-scale test of how the federal government and industry would carry out many of the key
components of a response. It also tested the ability to get crucial data in real-time to officials in Washington, D.C.,” said BSEE
Director Jim Watson:
“While this exercise gives us confidence in the preparedness levels of our federal, state, and local partners, and Shell, it is only one piece of the spill response puzzle. We will be repeatedly testing Shell’s equipment and their ability to respond, including through field deployments and unannounced drills. We will hold Shell accountable to its plans, and ensure that all personnel and equipment are positioned and ready before any proposed drilling activities could proceed.”