Regional Citizens’ Advisory Councils in Alaska, created in the wake of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill of 1989, have provided citizens in Prince William Sound and Cook Inlet with a meaningful role in oil spill prevention and cleanup plans. Although the history of these RCACs show that their formation left room for improvement, in the wake of the Gulf Oil Spill of 2010, it is clear that innovative and creative solutions involving those most affected by oil spills are desperately needed throughout the country to prevent such disasters in the future. Moving forward, future RCACs should be created that build on the successes of the existing Councils, while fixing their three primary shortfalls: (1) their reliance on the oil industry for funding; (2) their “advisory” function limitations; and (3) their lack of subpoena power.
Christina M. Santarpio,
From Lapdog to Watchdog: Giving Citizens a Voice in Monitoring the Oil Industry Through RCACs,
B.C. Envtl. Aff. L. Rev.