The overall program purpose of the Technical Review Program is to provide expert guidance to evaluate permits, regulations, findings, proposed legislation, and other information relating to Cook Inlet oil industry and regulatory agencies. The planned outcome of the program is that a mechanism is in place to ensure a timely response on issues of concern to Cook Inlet.
Often, there is limited time where public comment can be provided on an issue, and in order for Cook Inlet RCAC to provide written or oral comments and/or recommendations on issues relating to OPA 90 mandates, it is not always possible to obtain a quorum of the Board of Directors. The Protocol Committee is made up of a subset of the Cook Inlet RCAC Board of Directors and has been given authority to represent the Board for review comments and recommendations. This focused group of Directors can then act on shorter notice to work with staff and contractors in preparing or approving comments and recommendations. On issues where a Board of Directors position is specifically known, or on issues that don’t represent a specific position, staff may provide comments directly. Examples of this might be reviews of manuscripts or reports for scientific accuracy, recommendations for additional detail or information, or other non-controversial issues.
To ensure that the best background information is available to effectively participate in these review processes, this program may include research or data gathering projects and/or scientific studies. For example, in 1992, a data gathering project titled “Oil Operations Inventory” was conducted creating a database that described the operations connected with the exploration, production, processing, transport, and storage of crude and non-crude petroleum in the Cook Inlet Basin. This type of information needs to be continually updated. Through sound scientific studies, data collection, drill observations, inspecting and testing, and gathering information for dissemination, we can provide thoughtful, thorough, and targeted evaluations of any issue of concern.
Described here are several projects and review processes under the Technical Review Program. Many other actions of the Protocol Committee are described elsewhere. For example, the Protocol Committee approves Cook Inlet RCAC comments on Oil Spill Contingency Plans that are described under a separate program.