Setting Priorities for Health, Social, and Economic Disruptions from Spills in Alaska

Learning from the Past, Preparing for the Future

February 20 21, Anchorage, AK

This free workshop focused on three broadly defined topical areas pertaining to oil spills: public health, social disruption, and economic impacts. This collaboration of the Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative; and Sea Grant programs around the country is part of a national series sponsored by the Sea Grant oil spill science outreach program to improve community preparedness for oil spills. The aim of the project is to identify regional-level needs and priorities for improving preparedness. This project follows up on a 2017 workshop sponsored by the Gulf Resarch Program that brought together oil spill and public health practitioners, the disaster research community, and leaders from communities affected by oil spills.

The workshop in Alaska focused on the topics of public health and social and economic disruption from spills in three parts:

  1. research and lessons learned from the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill,
  2. the current state of oil spill preparedness in Alaska, and
  3. how to prepare communities for the next technological disaster.

Feature image of a coho salmon catch in front of a cruise ship, both essential elements of Alaska’s economy that could be endangered by an oil spill, provided by Alaska Sea Grant.