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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 most recent meeting was held virtually on June 8, 2021.

The next meeting of the Massachusetts Oil Spill Act Advisory Committee (OSAAC) will likely be planned for spring 2021.

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

Please check this page for further details.

Previous Meeting

On April 24, 2019, the OSAAC and various stakeholders met at the Commonwealth Museum & Archives in Boston.  Topics discussed included implementation of recommendations from the 2018 Buzzards Bay Ports & Waterways Safety Assessment (PAWSA), the Clean Bilge Pilot Project in New Bedford, and the development of a grant program to further the goals of the Oil Spill Act.

Please see the meeting minutes for details.

Additional Resources for

Purpose & Mission

Purpose

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. 

Mission

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.

Structure

Size - The Advisory Committee is composed of 9 - 11 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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