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Trustees Open 30-Day Public Comment Period on Draft Restoration Plan for Natural Resources Injured by January 2010 Diesel Spill on Adak Island, Alaska


03/18/2013


spilled diesel in January 2010 in Helmet Creek, Adak Island, Alaska Containment and sorbent booms placed across Helmet Creek, shown here in January 2010, contain diesel fuel spilled from an overfilled underground storage tank at Adak Petroleum Bulk Fuel facility on Adak Island, Alaska. The diesel spill injured anadromous fish, marine shellfish and migratory birds. Photo credit: FWS.

 

On March 18, 2013 the federal and State natural resource trustees opened a 30-day public comment period on the draft “Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment for the January, 2010 Adak Petroleum Diesel Spill.” This draft Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan presents natural resource restoration alternatives evaluated by the trustees and identifies five preferred projects intended to restore natural resources injured by the January 2010 release of diesel fuel from the Adak Petroleum Bulk Fuel facility on Adak Island in the central Aleutian Islands, Alaska.

The natural resource trustees in this case include:

  • State of Alaska, represented by Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Alaska Department of Natural Resources and Alaska Department of Law;
  • U.S. Department of Commerce, represented by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and,
  • U.S. Department of the Interior, represented by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The oil spill happened on January 11, 2010 at the Adak Petroleum Bulk Fuel facility at the Port of Adak on Adak Island, 1,200 miles southwest of Anchorage, Alaska. An estimated 143,000 gallons of diesel fuel was spilled when an underground storage tank at Helmet Creek Tank Farm was overfilled during a fuel transfer operation from the tanker Al-Amerat, moored nearby at a loading dock. The spilled diesel entered Helmet Creek, traveling the lower 2 km of the Creek to Adak Small Boat Harbor and eventually Sweeper Cove, fouling riparian habitat, wetland,s marine habitat and shorelines. Natural resources -- including anadromous fish, marine shellfish, migratory birds and their habitats -- were injured by the spilled diesel.

The trustees have prepared this draft Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan to examine and select preferred alternatives for restoring natural resources injured by the diesel spill. The preferred restoration alternative proposed by the trustees includes the following five projects:

  • Remove two trash racks from culverts in Helmet Creek;
  • Restore grade of Creek for fish passage;
  • Improve low flow passage inside the Creek’s culvert and above the Tank Farm;
  • Remove debris from the Creek and floodplain; and,
  • Revegetate banks to minimize disturbance and provide bank stability.

The trustees are working cooperatively with the responsible party, Adak Petroleum. Under trustee supervision, Adak Petroleum, is prepared to fund and implement these restoration projects. A Consent Decree will be negotiated to resolve the responsible party’s liability for natural resource damages.

Written comments on the Draft Restoration Plan must be received by NOAA’s Assessment and Restoration Division by April 30, 2013.

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