Editor’s Note: This letter by Sheri Buretta, chairman of the board for the Chugach Alaska Corporation, was written on Sept. 29 to Native Village of Eyak Traditional Council in support of the Shepard Point oil response facility.
Chugach Alaska Corporation (Chugach) is the Alaska Native Regional Corporation for the Chugach Region established pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 as amended, 43 U.S.C. § 1601, et seq. (ANCSA).
Chugach is the joint owner of the proposed location in the 1992 Consent Decree for the construction of the Oil Spill Response Facility in Cordova at Shepard Point. Chugach has consistently supported implementation of the consent decree and the utilization of Shepard Point for this facility. Chugach has provided comments in support for each of the EIS processes and testified in public meetings of our continued support. Today, we continue to support this project that is so vital to protecting our environment, resources, communities and lifestyles.
Chugach knows firsthand the devastation that lack of preparedness in responding to a major oil spill can have. We need to remain vigilant in upgrading our capabilities to respond to a worst-case spill of equal or greater magnitude than Exxon Valdez. It has been 25 years since the settlement between the State of Alaska, the Federal Government and Alyeska Pipeline Service Company dedicated funds to the construction of an oil spill response facility at Shepard Point. In that time over 8 billion barrels of crude oil have been shipped through Prince William Sound without the added spill response capabilities the Shepard Point project will provide.
Road access from the mile 13 airport at Cordova, the only all-weather reliable air facility in Prince William Sound, to a deep draft dock would greatly assist in transporting spill response equipment and supplies during a spill of major significance. OPA 90 mandates response capability to respond to a 200,000 bbl spill or worst case whichever is greater. The Shepard Point facility will enhance those capabilities.
Shepard Point was chosen because it best serves the community and the Prince William Sound as the location for this oil spill response facility based on factors of its deep draft accommodations for large vessels at all tide stages, vicinity to shipping lanes, environmental sensitivity, low cost of operation and maintenance, while also freeing up space the city desperately needs and can utilize.
Sincerely Sheri Buretta
Chairman of the Board
Chugach Alaska Corporation