Presenter/Author Information

John Konovsky, Tsleil-Waututh NationFollow

Type of Presentation

Oral

Session Title

Community perspectives on oil spill planning and response

Description

In the context of spilled crude oil, critiques of the Polluter Pays Principle generally focus on whether the legal limit of financial liability for the Responsible Party is adequate to cover the cost of worst case scenarios. My presentation will not address this larger issue. Instead, it will focus on the role of the Responsible Party in the Incident Command Post during the emergency phase of spill response.

When an Incident Command Post is set up, it has a specific, multi-faceted structure. From the Tsleil-Waututh perspective, two groups are key—Unified Command for overall decision making, and an Environmental Unit which has the responsibility to identify cultural and environmental sensitivities.

For ship-based spills while undocked in marine waters, the Responsible Party has a generally accepted role to play in Unified Command, but not one in the Environmental Unit. The accepted role is to approve financial expenditures for response actions as they are reviewed and approved by Unified Command. The Responsible Party does not have veto authority, but the spill response unfolds more smoothly with consensus-based decision making.

My presentation will describe how the MV Marathassa response deviated from these generally accepted norms, and how that deviation compromised spill response including the evaluation of environmental and cultural heritage impacts.

Comments

KEY WORDS: oil spill response, incident command, unified command, environmental unit, policy, procedure, environmental impact

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Polluter Pays Principle and the Role of the Responsible Party: lessons from the MV Marathassa spill

2016SSEC

In the context of spilled crude oil, critiques of the Polluter Pays Principle generally focus on whether the legal limit of financial liability for the Responsible Party is adequate to cover the cost of worst case scenarios. My presentation will not address this larger issue. Instead, it will focus on the role of the Responsible Party in the Incident Command Post during the emergency phase of spill response.

When an Incident Command Post is set up, it has a specific, multi-faceted structure. From the Tsleil-Waututh perspective, two groups are key—Unified Command for overall decision making, and an Environmental Unit which has the responsibility to identify cultural and environmental sensitivities.

For ship-based spills while undocked in marine waters, the Responsible Party has a generally accepted role to play in Unified Command, but not one in the Environmental Unit. The accepted role is to approve financial expenditures for response actions as they are reviewed and approved by Unified Command. The Responsible Party does not have veto authority, but the spill response unfolds more smoothly with consensus-based decision making.

My presentation will describe how the MV Marathassa response deviated from these generally accepted norms, and how that deviation compromised spill response including the evaluation of environmental and cultural heritage impacts.