Spill Science & Technology Bulletin
The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90) was largely driven by the catastrophic EXXON VALDEZ tanker spill and several other major tanker spills that followed in 1989. Under the OPA 90 mandate, the US Coast Guard, in partnership with other Federal agencies and industry have implemented a number of initiatives that have significantly enhanced the national oil spill prevention, preparedness and response capability. Declining trends in the volume of oil spilled into US waters indicates that these initiatives are at least in some measure successful. The Coast Guard is now concerned about what the future may hold in terms of oil pollution threats, and prevention, preparedness and response program shortcomings and opportunities in the future. To address this issue, the Coast Guard, in partnership with other National Response Team agencies and industry, is conducting a Broad-Based Programmatic Risk Assessment to develop a comprehensive vision and strategy for the Oil Spill Prevention, Preparedness and Response (OSPPR) Program in the 21st Century. This study will characterize the current and emerging oil spill threats by source category, assess the potential impacts of these threats to define overall risk, and examine the current and projected effectiveness of OSPPR initiatives in minimizing these risks. Key issues, problems and focus areas will be identified and targeted for follow-on risk analysis and management activities by the Coast Guard and agency and industry stakeholders.