NRC Aims to Increase Oil Spill Preparedness With New Report
Taking in the altered 21st century landscape, the committee put together a list of several gaps in preparedness for a potential oil spill in the Arctic. Interestingly, the report calls for more controlled spills in order to become familiar with how to contain oil in icy environments. Until now, such tests have only been performed in moderate climates, and unfortunately, permits for these types of procedures have become more and more difficult to obtain.
Another problem is that large portions of geographical mapping data for the Arctic remain incomplete, meaning that large vessels transporting oil have a tougher time navigating through dangerous waters in those regions, increasing the likelihood of spills. In addition to mapping, the council calls for an increased presence of coast guard, which would be able to facilitate quicker responses. Meanwhile, although the U.S. has an agreement with Russia to work together in the case of a spill, very little planning has taken place in regard to how such responses should be carried out.