posted on September 05, 2012 11:04
The St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Council Recently reached out to the community for assistance in developing a geographic response plan.
A geographic response plan is a planning document that provides crucial information guiding first responders in quickly and safely assessing and addressing oil or chemical spills that may threaten water sources. The Washington State Department of Ecology has a slideshow available the covers some of the basic information about what these plans are and how they should be developed.
In the case of this particular council, they were seeking information about access points and the availability of access to the river should a spill occur. By receiving permission for and documenting the access points, first responders and cleanup crews will be able to address spills more immediately and limit the area of damage. As the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection explains, “As a response tool the GRP allows quick decisions to be made by providing detailed geographic information on shoreline types, sensitive natural and cultural resources. This information, together with estimates of response equipment requirements, staging locations and pre-identified deployment strategies for protecting sensitive environmental areas, provides a basis for local responder to develop a more effective and coordinated initial response.”
Tribal water operators may find it useful to review local GRPs to understand how a spill and the resultant response plan may affect their operations, and to ensure that they are included in the list of people to be contacted should a spill occur.
The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation’s website provides detailed information about how their GRP was developed. While the challenges and constraints for communities in Alaska are unique, the site offers extensive details and examples that may be helpful in guiding tribal communities and rural areas in developing a plan of their own.