As part of its regular meeting, the San Juan County Marine Resources Committee will be hosting a presentation on oil spill dispersants. With funding from the Puget Sound Partnership for Near Term Actions, William King will be presenting a literature review of the current understanding of the chemistry, biological impacts and potential benefits of today’s dispersants.
“Current Review of Oil Spill Dispersants” will be on Wednesday Aug. 2 from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. in the San Juan County Legislative Hearing Room.
One of the San Juan County Council’s annual Federal Legislative Priorities has been to “develop a position on the use of dispersants in the waters surrounding San Juan County” and “Secure Congressional delegation’s endorsement of this position.” Policies on dispersant use are the purview of the Northwest Area Contingency Plan, with members from the EPA, the USCG and other agencies. Three San Juan County non-profit organizations have requested that the portion of the plan on dispersant tools, job aids and decision process be modified based on an updated review of dispersants’ toxicity and efficacy by oil type.
Currently, the county is considered a “Case-by-Case” dispersant-approval zone for marine waters deeper than 60 feet. A literature review was conducted to provide scientific information and recommendations that can help decision makers make informed, locally relevant decisions regarding dispersants. The literature review should be a valuable resource for decision makers to determine whether to authorize dispersant use in the event of an oil spill. A policy statement will be drafted to recommend possible ways to improve the capacity of SJC to respond to an oil spill. Drafting of this policy statement will be done in consultation with personnel from the Northwest Area Committee and local experts at NOAA. The goal is for the San Juan County Council to adopt the policy statement, based on the recommendation of the MRC, and to bring the policy statement to the Council’s congressional delegation for endorsement.