Consensus Study Report
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This activity was supported by a contract between the National Academy of Sciences and the United States Coast Guard. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for the project.
International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-69600-5
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-69600-3
Digital Object Identifier: https://doi.org/10.17226/26780
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Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Review of ICCOPR’s 2022-2027 Oil Pollution Research and Technology Plan. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/26780.
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COMMITTEE TO REVIEW OF THE INTERAGENCY COORDINATING COMMITTEE ON OIL POLLUTION RESEARCH (ICCOPR) 2022-2027 RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY PLAN
KENNETH LEE, Chair, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Halifax, Nova Scotia
JACQUELINE MICHEL, Vice-Chair, Research Planning Inc., Columbia, South Carolina
ADRIANA C. BEJARANO, Shell Global Solutions US Inc., Houston, Texas
MICHEL C. BOUFADEL, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark
ABBAS FIROOZABADI (NAE), Rice University, Houston, Texas
KURT HANSEN, Hansen Spill Response Research LLC, Mystic, Connecticut
SERGIO D. KAPUSTA, Rice University, Houston, Texas
DEBRA PAYTON, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (ret.), U.S. Department of the Interior, Woodinville, Washington
KELLY OSKVIG, Study Director, Ocean Studies Board
GRACE CALLAHAN, Program Assistant (until June 2022)
SAFAH WYNE, Program Assistant (from September 2022)
THANH NGUYEN, Financial Business Partner
OCEAN STUDIES BOARD
CLAUDIA BENITEZ-NELSON, Chair, University of South Carolina, Columbia
MARK R. ABBOTT, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts
ROSANNA ‘ANOLANI ALEGADO, University of Hawai’i, Manoa
CAROL ARNOSTI, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
AMY BOWER, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts
LISA M. CAMPBELL, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
THOMAS S. CHANCE, ASV Global, LLC (ret.), Broussard, Louisiana
DANIEL COSTA, University of California, Santa Cruz
JOHN R. DELANEY, University of Washington (ret.), Seattle
TIMOTHY GALLAUDET, Ocean STL Consulting, LLC, North Beach, Maryland
SCOTT GLENN, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey
MARCIA ISAKSON, The University of Texas at Austin
LEKELIA JENKINS, Arizona State University, Tempe
NANCY KNOWLTON (NAS), Smithsonian Institution (ret.), Washington, District of Columbia
ANTHONY MACDONALD, Monmouth University, West Long Branch, New Jersey
GALEN MCKINLEY, Columbia University, Palisades, New York
THOMAS J. MILLER, University of Maryland, Solomons
S. BRADLEY MORAN, University of Alaska Fairbanks
RUTH PERRY, Shell Exploration & Production Company, Houston, Texas
DEAN ROEMMICH, Scripps Institute of Oceanography (ret.), Solana Beach, California
JAMES SANCHIRICO, University of California, Davis
MARK J. SPALDING, The Ocean Foundation, Washington, District of Columbia
PAUL WILLIAMS, Squamish Indian Tribe, Seattle, Washington
SUSAN ROBERTS, Director
STACEE KARRAS, Senior Program Officer
KELLY OSKVIG, Senior Program Officer
EMILY TWIGG, Senior Program Officer
VANESSA CONSTANT, Program Officer (through September 2022)
CAROLINE BELL, Associate Program Officer
THANH NGUYEN, Financial Business Partner
LEIGHANN MARTIN, Research Associate
ELIZABETH COSTA, Senior Program Assistant
GRACE CALLAHAN, Program Assistant (through June 2022)
SAFAH WYNE, Program Assistant
The committee would like to thank United States Coast Guard staff who helped with the project, especially Ricardo Alonso, Christopher Bodner, Belinda Djeha, Clifton Graham, and Tracy Wirth. The committee would also like to thank the ICCOPR R&T Workgroup and the University of New Hampshire Coastal Response Research Center (CRRC)—these groups participated in the committee public meetings and served as a valuable resource to the committee throughout the study process, specifically Cliff Graham (United States Coast Guard), Lisa DiPinto (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), Eric Miller (Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement), Robyn Conmy (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency), and Nancy Kinner and Katie Perry (CRRC).
Several others participated in the committee’s public meetings, enriching the committee’s discussion with additional perspectives on oil spill science. The committee wishes to thank Paul Schuler (Oil Spill Response Limited), Scott Fields, M.J. Lewandowski, and Karin Messenger (Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund), Tim Nedwed (American Petroleum Institute), Kevin Hoskins (Marine Spill Response Corporation), Brent Koza (Texas General Land Office), Bernie Goldstein (University of Pittsburgh), and Leisel Ritchie (Virginia Tech).
This Consensus Study Report was reviewed as a draft by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in making each published report as sound as possible and to ensure that it meets the institutional standards for quality, objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process.
We thank the following individuals for their review of this report:
Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations of this report nor did they see the final draft before its release. The review of this report was overseen by MARY FEELEY, ExxonMobil Exploration Company (ret.), and DAVID DZOMBAK, Carnegie Mellon University. They were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with the standards of the National Academies and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content rests entirely with the authoring committee and the National Academies.
Interagency Coordination Committee on Oil Pollution Research
Origin and Evolution of the Oil Pollution Research and Technology Plan and Review
2 EVALUATION OF THE R&T PLAN DEVELOPMENT PROCESS
Identification of Research Needs
Prioritization of Research Needs
Conclusions and Recommendation
3 EVALUTION OF THE R&T PLAN CONTENT
Adequacy of Research Priorities Identified
Adherence to Congressional Requirements
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (the National Academies) were asked to provide advice and guidance to the Interagency Coordinating Committee on Oil Pollution Research (ICCOPR) on ICCOPR’s 2022-2027 Research and Technology Plan. This review is important, not only because it was mandated in authorizing legislation, but also because it comes at a critical time as new regions of oil and gas exploration, production, and transportation are being developed. Much has been learned in the 12 years since the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the northern Gulf of Mexico—an event that triggered extensive research focused on subsea releases and the impacts on a very wide range of natural and socioeconomic resources in the region. However, much more remains to be learned through continuing research and development projects that build on this knowledge base. Oil pollution research is expensive and requires long-term commitments to achieve the goals of improving prevention, preparedness, response, and injury assessment and restoration. Thus, close coordination among the agencies and organizations that sponsor and conduct oil pollution research, and agreement on research priorities, are some of the keys to success. This need to coordinate and leverage funding resources applies to organizations within the United States and internationally, particularly in the Arctic and deep-sea regions.
Acknowledging the need to develop more effective tools for oil spill response, understand and monitor their effects, and train the next generation of oil spill response experts, this report suggests methods to fill the gaps attributed to a reduction in spill response personnel as the frequency of large spills (e.g., tankers at sea) have declined and as experienced scientists and responders retire.
This report also highlights the need to update and refine risk assessment methods to improve preparedness, which involves improvements in the ability to accurately predict the behavior, fate, and effects (acute and chronic) of various types of oils in the environment under different scenarios, as well as the development of enhanced technologies and safety protocols.
The long-term effects of oil spills remain a concern. Debates over the ecological impacts from the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill and the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico are still ongoing, and it is now recognized that we must also consider the effect of oil spills at the population, community, and ecosystem levels, as discussed in the 2022 National Academies report Oil in the Sea IV. In particular, the lack of adequate baseline data limits our knowledge of the
environmental impact of spilled oil in high-risk and poorly understood areas (e.g., Arctic waters, the deep ocean and shores, inland rivers and wetlands); our understanding of these systems’ natural variability and resilience and their response to climate change is incomplete; and programs to monitor the environmental effects of spills are insufficient.
Given the difficulties in using new technologies during training exercises, drills, or actual events, it would be beneficial to engage the operational responder community in the development and testing of new or improved technologies. This engagement could lead the operational responder community to incorporate new technologies into their response portfolios. Validation and evaluation of the effectiveness of emerging and current oil spill countermeasures with a range of crude oil types under field conditions (field trials/spills of opportunity) would enhance acceptance by both regulators and end users.
This report also explores limitations in the establishment of research networks among government agencies, academia, industry, and other organizations to promote the sharing of expertise, reduce duplication of research effort, and enhance interoperability during response operations. The committee discussed different outreach mechanisms to improve sharing and awareness, such as dashboards and dedicated workshops and sessions at conferences.
We want to thank the committee members, who shared their extensive knowledge and time, and the individuals and groups listed in the acknowledgments, who provided their expertise and perspectives. The Ocean Studies Board staff provided excellent support that made our remote collaborations during the COVID-19 pandemic effective. In particular, Kelly Oskvig, the Study Director, guided the committee through the challenges of discussing and writing the report remotely. The committee also wishes to thank other staff who assisted the committee during the study process: Caroline Bell, Leighann Martin, and Susan Roberts. It was an honor to work with the committee, the project sponsors, and the National Academies staff. We look forward to seeing the next ICCOPR Research and Technology Plan.
Kenneth Lee, Chair
Jacqueline Michel, Vice-Chair
Committee to Review the Interagency Coordinating Committee on Oil
Pollution Research (ICCOPR) 2022-2027 Research and Technology Plan
Acronyms and Abbreviations
|BSEE||Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement|
|CRRC||Coastal Response Research Center (of University of New Hampshire)|
|EPA||U.S. Environmental Protection Agency|
|ICCOPR||Interagency Coordinating Committee on Oil Pollution Research|
|NAS||National Academy of Sciences|
|NDAA||National Defense Authorization Act|
|NOAA||National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration|
|NRC||National Research Council|
|OPA 90||Oil Pollution Act of 1990|
|OSLTF||Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund|
|R&D||research and development|
|R&T Plan||ICCOPR Oil Pollution Research and Technology Plan|
|ROI||return on investment|
|SRA||Standing Research Area|
|TRL||technology readiness level|