Oil Spill Act Advisory Committee

The Advisory Committee assists MassDEP in implementing the Massachusetts Oil Spill Prevention & Response Act program.

The Oil Spill Act Advisory Committee assists MassDEP in making the most efficient and effective use of a Trust Fund established by the Oil Spill Act, as well as other related policy and program matters.  The group includes stakeholders interested in marine transport and shipping as well as others.  The group meets on an annual cycle, and if necessary holds additional meetings on an as needed basis.

Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Massachusetts Oil Spill Act Advisory Committee (OSAAC) will be held on November 15, 2023 at the Braintree Yacht Club from 9am to noon.  Braintree Yacht Club is located at 9 Gordon Road in Braintree. For additional information, please contact Julie Hutcheson at Julie.Hutcheson@mass.gov 

The OSAAC meeting is an opportunity for stakeholders to discuss current and proposed projects and initiatives and provide input on program objectives.

Previous Meeting

On Thursday, December 15, 2022, the OSAAC and various stakeholders held their annual meeting virtually over Zoom. 

Meeting topics included MassDEP updates related to:

  • MOSPRA trust fund,
  • 2022 fiscal year expenditures
  • 2022 tug escort program activities
  • NOAA's Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System (PORTS) efforts in Cape Cod and Buzzards Bays,
  • First Responder Training and Geographic Response Strategy (GRS) Testing program, and;
  • an invitation to the Bouchard B-120 Symposium held at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in May 2023.

Following these topic briefings and reminders, MassDEP provided an update on its MOSPRA Grant Program, including a summary of recent grant recipients. This was succeeded by a presentation from the New England Wildlife Center (NEWC), one of the grant recipients. NEWC's presentation highlighted the many ways in which their grant has helped to expedite improvements to oiled wildlife preparedness and mitigation programs and strategies throughout Massachusetts.

The meeting concluded with a presentation from Nuka Research and Resilience and Foresight Services on climate change impacts and findings from a related threat assessment, and then a roundtable discussion on the intersection between MOSPRA and a changing climate.

Purpose & Mission


The Oil Spill Act was signed into law by Governor Romney on August 4, 2004.   A key element of the Act is a Trust Fund, financed primarily by a 5-cent/barrel fee on petroleum products delivered to marine terminals in the state.  This Fund is to be used and disbursed by the Commissioner of MassDEP to ensure that the Massachusetts coastline is protected from oil spills, via spill prevention and response efforts and programs that may include: (a) improvements to vessel navigational systems and infrastructure; (b) development of spill response plans for local, regional, and/or state responders; (c) procurement and maintenance of spill response equipment for local, regional, and/or state responders; (d) development and implementation of spill response drills and exercises; and (e) implementation of spill prevention/response research efforts.

To assist the agency in making the most efficient and effective use of the Trust Fund, as well as other related policy and program matters, an Advisory Committee has been established. The Act does not mandate the establishment of a committee, but experiences in other states have confirmed the utility and benefits of such a group. 


The mission of the Advisory Committee will be to advise the Commissioner (and/or his/her designee) on the following matters:

1)  Approaches, actions, programs, systems and procedures to implement the OSA, in a manner that will optimize the integration and effectiveness of local, regional, state, inter-state, federal, and private-sector spill-response assets.

2)  Prioritization of areas for disbursements from the Trust Fund.

3)  Other matters that arise in the course of implementing the Act relating to technical and/or policy issues. 

The Advisory Committee will not address litigation issues, internal agency operational procedures, or specific spill/site matters.


Size - The Advisory Committee is composed of 9 - 15 members. Committee members and organizations have been selected to represent a wide rage of governmental and private maritime interests with the goal to maximize attendance and participation.

Meetings - MassDEP hosts an annual meeting of the Advisory Committee in various locations along the Massachusetts coastline.  There will be no quorum requirements.  In addition to invited committee members, the meetings will be open to all members of the public.

Voting - Formal voting will not occur.  Resolutions or recommendations from the committee will not be binding upon the agency.

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