Oil Spill Prevention and Response in the U.S. Arctic Ocean: Unexamined Risks, Unacceptable Consequences

Nov 10, 2010

This report examine the risks, challenges and potential consequences of oil spills associated with oil and gas exploration and production in the outer continental shelf (OCS) of the United States Arctic Ocean. The April 2010 Deepwater Horizon well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico prompted a reconsideration of the potential for a major blowout from proposed oil exploration or production in the Arctic OCS. This report was developed to contribute to the policy discussion regarding the risks and consequences of such spills.

View the full report (PDF)

View the policy recommendations (PDF)

About the report authors:
Nuka Research and Pearson Consulting are consulting firms with internationally recognized expertise in oil spill prevention and response.  Together they have 65 years experience in their field.  Their clients include federal and state agencies, oil spill response organizations, oil companies, and non-governmental organizations.  Nuka Research has published over 40 papers on oil spill prevention and response.

Tim Robertson, general manager of Nuka Research, has spent his professional career in Alaska, including past work as a fishery biologist, drilling mud engineer on the North Slope and in Cook Inlet; director of operations for Seldovia, Alaska during the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill; and delegate to the negotiated rulemaking committee for the U.S. vessel response plan regulations promulgated under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. He has participated in the Incident Management Team for many oil spills since the Exxon Valdez, and has organized and facilitated dozens of oil spill response exercises, emergency management drills and equipment deployment trainings. Robertson holds a Master of Science degree in Fisheries Biology from the University of Alaska, Southeast.

Elise DeCola is the operations manager of Nuka Research.  Her professional career began as a policy fellow in the Rhode Island Senate, where she organized hearings and drafted legislation to strengthen Rhode Island's oil spill prevention and response program in the wake of the 1996 North Cape oil spill.  She has since worked on oil spill policy research and contingency plan development and review in Alaska, New England and several Gulf Coast states. She regularly conducts field preparedness exercises for oil spill responders in the Northeast.  DeCola holds an M.A. in Marine Affairs from the University of Rhode Island.  

Leslie Pearson is President of Pearson Consulting, LLC, which specializes in emergency management, planning, preparedness, policy research and regulatory compliance. Prior to starting a business, she spent 19 years with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, including six year as the Oil Spill Response Program manager. She began her tenure with the ADEC in 1989 during the Exxon-Valdez oil spill. Her regulatory career focused specifically on issues associated with oil pollution planning, preparedness, response, damage assessment and response technology. Pearson earned a Master’s of Science in Environmental Science from Alaska Pacific University.

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