Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Ban Toxic Chemical Dispersants: Flawed process to pre-authorize dispersants threatening ALASKA WATERS and Communities

Media Advisory-For Release 13 November-Nov 17th 2013
Alaska Environmental Alliance Condemns Federal Agency Conduct re Chemical Dispersant Pre-Authorization Plans as a Move to Erode the Power of Clean Water Act

Nikos Pastos-Center for Water Advocacy,
AI-TC and Alaska Delegation Spokesperson

Carl Wassilie-Yup'iaq Biologist

Diane Wagenbrenner
VP Special Project Operations
Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization
COSR Global Alliance Media Relations

See ARRT Website Meeting Schedule/Agendas at:

The Alaska Regional Response Team (ARRT), a federal inter-agency body tasked with formulating response plans to oil and hazardous substance discharges in Alaska, are holding public meetings in five hub Alaskan regions this week to present their revised oil spill response plans. The first meeting, scheduled in King Salmon, Alaska on Wednesday, November 13th will present information on plans that give pre-authorization for the spraying and injection of the same controversial chemical dispersants used on the 1989 Exxon Valdez and 2010 Gulf of Mexico British Petroleum (BP) Oil Spills, to be used in Alaskan waters.

The Alaska Inter-Tribal Council and the Change Oil Spill Response Global Alliance-Alaska Delegation, say Tribal Nations, fisherman and concerned citizens vehemently oppose the plan because it erodes the regulatory power of the Clean Water Act.  In a widely distributed Public Notification to Tribal Governments and Alaskan citizens, they explain that U.S. policies and laws mandating government to government consultation with Tribal Nations on such plans are being undermined and short circuited by the ARRT.

The ARRT’s ‘questionable Tribal Consultation process’, planned to begin on Nov 13th, “is a misuse of public funds to force through approval of the Coast Guard’s dispersant use plans setting a dangerous precedent for inappropriate government to government consultation with Federally Recognized Tribes” said Walter Parker, an Arctic expert with 40 years experience in oil & gas oversight.  “Chemical Dispersant use in oil spill response should be retired globally as obsolete, and is especially inappropriate for Alaskasince they are ineffective in frigid waters” he continued.

The Public Notification educational materials distributed to more than 250 potentially impacted Tribal and Fishing communities illustrate that human rights violations are taking place through the ARRT’s inept Tribal engagement processes.  According to the documents, the pre authorization plans would allow for the use of chemical dispersants over the objections of Tribal authorities and environmental groups in the event of an oil spill. 

I.  See attached documents for details.
II. See ARRT website for meeting information at: http://alaskarrt.org/Documents.aspx?f=12371


Any proposal for the use of chemical dispersants requires that the following questions be addressed by the inter-agency ARRT presenting their dispersant plans for discussion:

a.      Of greatest importance in oil spill response is rapid reduction of oil toxicity and its impact on ecosystems and threat to human health. Dispersants do not remove oil or reduce toxicity of the oil but increase it, how does the revised plan address this?

b.      Based on 2012 DOI testing and other science we have reviewed, dispersants are not effective in frigid waters below a certain temperature.  How does your plan overcome that?

c.       How will dispersants applied by aerial and/or other application methods not impact marine life, coastal and up-river communities?

d.      Since dispersants do not remove oil and its most toxic compounds but instead sink and disperse them into the water column increasing absorption capacity and ingestion by marine life, how is this addressed in the plan?

e.      How will chemical dispersants not impact Customary and Traditional and Modern Life-ways of hunting, fishing, gathering ability to navigate and access clean water?

f.        What non-toxic alternatives can be used to replace chemical dispersants invented by and/or owned by the major oil companies? (LAEO’s research has found technology that does indeed exist to truly detoxify and swiftly clean up an oil spill, and that technology is being successfully used in many parts of the world today.)

g.      How does the use of chemical dispersants comply with the Clean Water Act?  (see: http://protectmarinelifenow.org/revitalization )

(Note: See also study/position paper at: www.protectmarinelifenow.org which is based on multiple scientific studies cited indicating unquestionable food chain, ecosystem and human health impacts of dispersants.)      If any proposed chemical dispersant guidelines do not meet the criteria at: http://protectmarinelifenow.org/identification for selecting products for oil spill cleanup, they should not be approved.  

See Attached Materials for more details:

1.       Briefing to Tribes-Urgent Action Required, Fed Agency Undermine of Tribal Government Authority

2.      Tribal Exclusion Fact Sheet

3.      An Open Letter to Oil Spill Response Professionals

4.      Sample Tribal Resolution to Ban Chemical Dispersants (11 Resolutions passed and enacted thus far)

5.      A Case Against Chemical Dispersants


Nikos Pastos-Center for Water Advocacy,
AI-TC and Alaska Delegation Spokesperson

Carl Wassilie-Yup'iaq Biologist

Diane Wagenbrenner
VP Special Project Operations
Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization
COSR Global Alliance Media Relations

See ARRT Website Meeting Schedule/Agendas at:

Friday, July 5, 2013

Outdated science and bureaucracy is standing in the way of a clean Gulf of Mexico, Alaska and thousands of other toxic spill sites throughout Earth’s lands and waters.

 ALASKA'S  BIG VILLAGE NETWORK is a proud member of
Change Oil Spill Response Global Alliance

The Alaska Regional Response Team (ARRT), consisting of federal and state agency officials responsible for protecting and safeguarding Alaskan lands and waters, is ready to give the green light to chemical dispersant preauthorization plans that were  presented at their May 22 meeting in Valdez, Alaska.
Fearing the ARRT’s dispersant plan approval, Alaskan groups and tribes led by the Alaska Inter-Tribal Council (AITC) have begun enacting statewide, legally binding tribal resolutions opposing the use of chemical dispersant substances in oil spill contingency planning throughout Alaska. With more than 200 indigenous tribes living in remote wilderness, many without grocery stores, and, who have no direct representation at the ARRT table, a decision to apply chemical dispersants to mitigate oil spills has untenable trade-offs impacting their fisheries and polluting their food and water sources.
While this tribal feud with federal agencies has been going on for years, the AITC  has joined forces with the Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization. This coalition is a newly-formed regional partnership for Alaska and part of LAEO’s Change Oil Spill Response (COSR) Global Alliance initiative.
The AITC coalition of Alaskan tribal representatives and groups now formed as the Change Oil Spill Response Global Alliance Delegation prepared documentation and scientific studies supporting the complete elimination of chemical dispersants in Alaskan spill response. They have delivered  18 Tribal Council resolutions currently in hand to the committee co-chairs: Mr. Mark Everett, U.S. Coast Guard, and Chris Field, EPA Coordinator. 
Chief Michael Stickman of Nulato, International Chair of the Arctic Athabascan Council and a leading member of a newly established Arctic Council Task Force working to substantially improve procedures for combating oil spills in the Arctic, endorsed the Alliance formation stating: “Committing to clean up oil spills after they happen is insufficient. Precaution and nation-to-nation Tribal Government Consultation and free, prior, informed consent must be enacted before hasty implementation of a policy of pre-authorizing toxic chemical dispersants substances in oil spill contingency planning. Why have less toxic bioremediation methods with a 20-year track record of effectiveness been ignored by the Alaska inter-agency Regional Response Team?”
Consolidated Alaskan Tribes have a straightforward demand — they require clean water and healthy fisheries, which are critical to their survival as people living in an arctic environment. Tribes have treaty rights as sovereign nations and have considerable authority over what affects their ability to hunt, fish and sustain their lifestyles as Native Americans.
LAEO’s Science and Technology Advisory Board released a 44-page position paper last month outlining an entirely new approach to oil spill problems associated with drilling, transport, pipelines, and storage mishaps, entitled  A Call for a Twenty-First-Century SOLUTION in Oil Spill Response. 
The Alaska Inter-Tribal Council requested LAEO’s assistance and are now using their materials to educate tribal governments and communities on the chemical dispersant issue throughout Alaska. Many tribes are in remote locations, not connected to broadband and have little to no representation for protecting fishing, hunting, gathering and bartering interests. Tribes and Coastal communities are disproportionately impacted by federal, and state decision makers who gift to outside multi-national corporations large entitlements and easy access to Alaska’s waters, land, air and salmon streams often ignoring pre-existing rights of indigenous Alaskans and other citizens.

Read and Download Documentation from the Alaska Alliance.




Please send this communication to anyone you know who is able to reach Oil & Gas Industry Leaders, EPA and other agency officials at Fed, State levels responsible for Environmental Health, Quality and Protection. 

Outdated science and bureaucracy is standing in the way of a clean Gulf of Mexico, Alaska and thousands of other toxic spill sites throughout Earth’s lands and waters.  Many members of the US EPA, interagency response community and industry professionals do care and are looking for a better way forward, we want to help. 

The Science & Technology Advisory Board of the Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization (LAEO) has just published a significant position paper entitled A Call for a Twenty-First-Century Solution in Oil Spill Response.   The goal of this effort is to get safe, non-toxic, cost-effective, oil-spill response plans adopted for all future incidents in U.S. navigable waters and around the world. 

The material contained in this analysis and guide is a constructive offering for oil and energy industry professionals and every oil-producing nation in the world to better manage potentially contaminated ecosystems. The work brings a new analysis and assessment of oil-spill response and offers effective alternative technologies for replacing dispersant chemical application in an oil spill or deep-water drilling crisis like the 2010 BP blowout and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. It contains guidelines for the selection process for cleanup agents, along with an evaluation process (evaluating toxicity, effectiveness, speed, and cost) that can be used to grade potential effectiveness of cleanup agents being considered for removing spilled oil from the environment.

Alongside publishing this paper, LAEO has launched a government and public education awareness campaign. The campaign, headquartered at www.protectmarinelifenow.org seeks to bring critically important reforms to oil spill cleanup guidelines to improve response methodology for protecting marine and wildlife, sensitive habitats and human health.

Tax payers, oil companies and their shareholders and many other stakeholders stand to save billions of dollars in cleanup costs as well as irreparable damages of natural resources, secondary remediation and litigation costs.  

We recommend that your first step in the education process would be for you to read the Overview.
If you agree with the position we lay out in these documents please contact me to join the Change Oil Spill Response Global Alliance to help in this effort to open the worldwide industry discussion and build a consensus for safe, non-toxic, efficient, lower-cost, oil-spill response methods. 
·         Read: LAEO Position Paper Overview: http://protectmarinelifenow.org/preamble-summary


·         Forward the position paper to others: Link to the Complete 44-page Position Paper: A Call for a Twenty-First-Century Solution in Oil Spill Response.

·         What can you do?  Help educate others, forward these links.

Thank you!