PWSRCAC raises concerns about Valdez Marine Terminal

Members of the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council released a report this spring outlining their concerns about safety at the Valdez Marine Terminal, but say they are encouraged by the response from the president of Alyeska Pipeline Service Company.

The report was initiated in June 2022 after current and former Alyeska employees brought their safety concerns to the council. The council worked with Billie Pirner Garde, of the Washington D.C. law firm Clifford & Garde LLP which is a national expert of safety culture for work environments in energy industries, to produce the report. Garde previously worked as a consultant for both Alyeska and BP on numerous issues related to safety cultures and employee concerns.

The concerned individuals, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, described to Garde incidents of inadequate staffing, equipment and safety and reporting systems. They said pressure to reduce budgets was a common theme. They contended that the availability of resources, quality and audit functions maintenance and system upgrades, and operational integrity and compliance have all suffered significantly under recent corporate management.

According to Garde, “virtually every serious accident investigation confirms that the tension between cost on the one hand, and compliance and safety on the other hand, contributed to the event.”

Garde credited the integrity, knowledge and skill of the Alyeska workforce for holding together the aging infrastructure at the terminal.

The report said that over the past few years, PWSRCAC has become increasingly concerned with budget cuts and reductions in staffing levels as well at state agencies with key oversight responsibilities at the Valdez terminal, including the federal Bureau of Land Management and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.


The Council endorsed all recommendations contained in the Garde report, including one that Congress initiate a Government Accountability Office audit to determine the adequacy of the present regulatory oversight of Alyeska’s terminal operations by federal and state agencies with responsibility over the terminal, including compliance with the federal grant of right-of-way and stipulations and the state lease. The council also requested that the state of Alaska initiate an assessment, or audit, of the present regulatory oversight of Alyeska’s terminal operations by state agencies with responsibilities over the terminal.