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Oil Spill Response and Tactical Planning

EPS staff have participated in a multitude oil spill emergency responses, plus numerous drills and pre-planning workshops. These typically include remedial (cleanup and response using NEBA) and natural resource damage assessment liabilities [e.g., NRDA in the US and damage assessment in the European Union under the Environmental Liabilities Directive (ELD)]. EPS helps our clients to manage and limit potential liabilities that may arise as the result of a spill. EPS staff have worldwide expertise in oil spill response and planning (OSRP) that includes support to clients in the three phases of oil spill response 1) pre-planning, 2) incident response, and 3) post-incident support.

Our pre-incident phase support experience includes contingency plan development, tactical response plan development, identification and GIS mapping of environmentally sensitive areas, spill drill support and exercise participation, and client workshops and training. Our staff develops oil spill contingency plans (OSCPs) for pipelines, terminals, wells, refineries, shipping, transporters (pipeline and railroad), and both on-shore and off-shore exploration and production.

Our incident response phase experience includes integration into the Incident Command System (ICS); risk assessment; resources at risk and priorities for protection; response strategies; organization and management; equipment, supply services and manpower; communications and control; and plan updating procedures. EPS is experienced in identifying equipment, personnel and support services required to clean-up discharges; model spill trajectories; identify environmentally sensitive areas (ecological and socioeconomic) that could come in contact with the spill; and developing protective actions to limit the oil’s impact. Our services also include waste management; direction of contractor resources; and toxicity testing of water column and benthic organisms to determine whether chemicals released were in toxic forms or toxic concentrations. As part of oil spill emergency response, EPS staff have: integrated within the ICS; assisted with strategic decisions regarding resource protection and environmental liability management; operated within the ICS structure to develop and implement multi-media environmental sampling programs meeting the requirements of multiple state and federal agencies; provided field support for environmental assessment, sampling, waste characterization, and identified sensitive ecological and socioeconomic resources. We have coordinated with on-site public resource agency representatives; coordinated oiled wildlife management with the appropriate wildlife and bird rescue organizations; provided recommendations for on site clean-up actions from a net environmental benefit analysis (NEBA) standpoint; provided field support for collecting event information to support trajectory and mass balance modeling; provided natural resource economics support; and provided field support for collecting ephemeral time-sensitive data related to baseline conditions.  Our staff has provided daily briefings and summary documents to ICS and elected officials as part of routine ICS operations.

The EPS team’s post-incident phase experience includes environmental assessments of a multitude of hazardous releases, including long-term release sites. This post-incident experience includes conducting human and ecological risk assessments, waste characterization and management, NEBA for post-incident remedial alternative selection and design, remedial action implementation, mass balance and trajectory modeling, and all phases of damage assessment support. Damage assessment support experience includes technical study design and implementation to estimate both natural resource injury and natural resource restoration values, mitigation planning and design, ecological and socioeconomic debit and credit calculations, use of approved (US and Europe) resource equivalency approaches [(HEA/REA) and human use economics models], agency negotiation support, litigation and expert witness support, liability allocation and modeling, appropriate baseline characterization, and GIS mapping.