About Us

WHY WE WERE ESTABLISHED

Photographer: Ross D. Hamamura - RDHphoto.net

Photographer: Ross D. Hamamura – RDHphoto.net

Two spills formed a critical juncture: The first was in December 1988 and involved the tank barge Nestucca, a spill which impacted the coasts of Washington and British Columbia. The second, in March 1989, was the catastrophic spill of the tanker Exxon Valdez in Alaska’s Prince William Sound. These two events highlighted in a dramatic way the vulnerability of the West Coast states and British Columbia to spill risks from coastal marine traffic. Awareness arose of the importance of cross-border coordination and cooperation, and the need for firm commitments to protect the unique marine resources of the region.

Thus the Pacific States/B.C. Oil Spill Task Force (Task Force) was created, the result of a memorandum signed by the governors of Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and California, and the premier of British Columbia in 1989. In 2001, Hawaii joined the Task Force, further broadening our regional scope.

WHO WE ARE

The OSTF is comprised of representatives from these agencies in the jurisdictions we represent:

Task Force members

Larry Hartig Commissioner, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation

Larry Hartig
Commissioner,
Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation

Photo: Mark Zacharias Deputy Minister, British Columbia Ministry of  Environment & Climate Change Strategy

Mark Zacharias Deputy Minister, British Columbia Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy

Thomas M. Cullen Jr. Administrator Office of Spill Prevention & Response (OSPR) California Department of Fish & Game

Thomas M. Cullen Jr.
Administrator
Office of Spill Prevention & Response (OSPR)
California Department of Fish & Wildlife

Keith E. Kawaoka, Deputy Director for Environmental Health, Hawaii

Richard Whitman Director Department of Environmental Quality, Oregon

Richard Whitman,
Director, Department of Environmental Quality, Oregon

Dale Jensen Program Manager, Washington Department of Ecology Spill Prevention, Preparedness & Response Program

Dale Jensen
Program Manager, Washington Department of Ecology Spill Prevention, Preparedness & Response Program

 

WHAT WE DO

The ongoing focus of the Task Force is sharing information and resources, coordinating regional oil spill prevention projects, and fostering regulatory compatibility. Evolving trends in energy development are also impacting our field of concern; whereas marine spills prompted the creation of the Task Force, we now consider developing strategies to prevent oil spills from pipelines, onshore facilities, vehicles, and railroads also part of our remit.

Our Core Activities:

  1. We share information on regional and national oil spill programs, policies and emerging technologies with member jurisdictions, stakeholders and the public;
  2. The Task Force coordinates and facilitates projects, workshops and round-table forums on oil spill prevention and response topics of concern;
  3. We help create tools and resources to foster and encourage best industry practices;
  4. As a collective, we support policy and legislative initiatives that help prevent oil spills and protect resources at risk.
  5. We engage with industry partners in spill prevention and response planning;
  6. Our outreach and communications activities focus on sharing our project updates, products and Task Force Member accomplishments while providing opportunities to hear and learn from our stakeholders and the public.