The first spill response drill conducted by the Alaska government, fuel shippers, and cleanup crews in the Bering Strait has given a measure for how much is still unknown about handling oil spills in the region.
Department of Environmental Conservation will sort through the data collected and revise plans that are currently on the books.
Colin Daugherty manages Chadux’s (a company paid to handle cleanup in case of a spill) response capabilities, and was candid that even when things didn’t work during the drill they were important lessons on how to improve.
A point repeatedly raised is the need to work more closely with Bering Strait residents, whether leaders in small communities, or people in Nome who know about local conditions.
The exercise in Teller did not answer many questions about how an oil spill in one of the most remote parts of the state will be handled. Still, response planners are starting from almost zero when it comes to figuring out oil spills in the area.
For now, they’re taking the first steps to figure out what exactly they don’t yet know.