1999 Oil Spill Funding Press ReleaseFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Dr. Joe Costa
November 5, 1999
Bay Project funds oil spill training for Buzzards Bay officials
Wareham -- Tomorrow and next Saturday, municipal officials from around Buzzards Bay will be participating in
oil spill training and field exercises on oil spill containment boom deployment. Tomorrow's training will be held
in the Town of Falmouth, beginning with a morning lecture at the Gus Canty Recreational center and continuing
field exercises on Great Pond near Maravista Avenue. The training in New Bedford on Saturday November 13 will
be held on East Rodney French Boulevard near the start of the hurricane barrier.
The training exercises are being funded by the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program which hired the
Massachusetts Maritime Academy to conduct the training. Ed Irving and Ed O'Brien of the Maritime Academy are
instructors for the course. Fire Chief Ron Scott of Mattapoisett, Fire Captain Steven Chmiel of New Bedford,
Deputy Fire Chief Rogers of Falmouth are helping coordinate the field exercise. The Buzzards Bay NEP funded
this training at the request of the Buzzards Bay Action Committee, an organization of municipal officials from
around Buzzards Bay who are working toward implementing recommendations in the Buzzards Bay Comprehensive
Conservation and Management Plan
Captain Chmiel and Chief Scott have been working together for the past 4 years with oil spill coordinators from
around Buzzards Bay to improve emergency response and coordination among the area's municipalities.
According to Chief Scott, "Our earlier training exercises were a great success. We had excellent participation by
the towns, and we learned a lot about the difficulties of dealing with oil spills."
According to Buzzards Bay NEP Executive Director Dr. Joe Costa, the course is meant to help Buzzards Bay
municipalities provide a first response to an oil spill until the Coast Guard and state officials can arrive on the scene.
According to Dr. Costa, his program provided more than $40,000 to municipalities around the bay in since 1992
to purchase oil spill containment equipment such as booms, storm drain covers, absorbent pads, as well as support
equipment such as splash suits and survival suits to help handle spills in cold water, as well as training. Costa
emphasized "we believe that better local government preparedness as important step in minimizing the impacts from
oil spills, especially smaller spills near shore. We think that this work by the fire chiefs and harbormasters around
Buzzards Bay is a great idea."
Buzzards Bay was the site of several major oil spills in past decades. The grounding of an ocean liner in Buzzards
Bay in the early 1990's and a major spill off Rhode Island prompted area municipal officials to assess their ability
to respond to both small spills and large catastrophic ones. According to the Buzzards Bay NEP, more than 2000
tankers and barges carrying three billion gallons of oil travel through the Cape Cod Canal annually. Additional
shipments arrive in New Bedford Harbor. Most frequently, however, oil spills are small and near shore.