Planning for the worst
Posted by PA3 Richard Brahm, Friday, December 9, 2011
The Central Texas Coastal Area Committee held their quarterly meeting in which multiple organizations plan for the response to oil or other hazardous material spills happening off the Texas coast, Thursday, December 8, 2011.
The CTCAC is a multi-agency organization co-chaired by the Coast Guard, Environmental Protection Agency representatives, state representatives for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Texas General Land Offices, local representatives of city and county offices of emergency management, private sector organizations and public information staff.
Meetings are held quarterly, and during these meetings members work together to update the area contingency plan. The committee also holds work groups that evaluate special interest areas such as resources at risk, volunteer organizations and public information.
“We’re here at this meeting today with state local industry non-governmental organizations working with them for the common goal of cleaning up the spill and minimizing the impact to the environment and to commerce and safety of personnel responding. Those are always your objectives in any spill,” said Capt. James Whitehead, commander of U.S. Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston.
To help increase the readiness of the groups involved they will also plan training drills that cover a variety of areas and scenarios.
“If there is a case last quarter that happens, we’ll have a case study to discuss lessons learned and to improve our response,” said Chuck Wolf, co-chair of public information work group of the CTCAC.
The CTCAC is an open group for any interested parties. Industry workers as well as members of the public are welcome to attend the meetings to provide information or to just attend and learn more about the planning process.
“You never know who the responsible party will be or where the oil spill or hazmat will be, so that’s why we come here, so that’s why we come together as agencies and organizations to work together to help each other out,” stated Wolf.
Article and photos by Petty Officer 3rd Class Kevin Metcalf.