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OR&R Participates in Sea Grant Oil Spill Workshop

APRIL 12, 2019 — On March 29, Sea Grant hosted an Oil Spill Workshop in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Man teaching class, looking at flip chart
OR&R's Frank Csulak. Image credit: NOAA.

Historically, oil spill workshops have primarily focused on the environmental impacts associated with oil spills. What is unique about these workshops is that they focus on the protection of community health and well-being, including physical, mental, economic, and social aspects of health and well-being. The purpose of this workshop was to bring together community leaders, oil spill and health practitioners, and oil spill responders to collaborate and educate one another about protecting community health and well-being in the event of a future oil affecting Virginia and its neighboring states.

The goals of the workshop included:

  • Raise awareness of the economic, environmental, community and health impacts of oil spills;
  • Promote communication between the response community and those potentially affected by oil spills; and
  • Discuss potential projects that improve oil spill preparedness addressing regional needs and priorities.

Michelle Covi, Old Dominion University and Virginia Sea Grant planned and facilitated the workshop.  Several speakers, including, Christine Hale, Oil Spill Specialist, Texas Sea Grant; John Giese, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Office of Pollution Response & Emergency Preparedness; Frank Csulak, NOAA Scientific Support Coordinator, Office of response and Restoration; Erin Sutton, Deputy Emergency Services Coordinator for Virginia Beach; Amy Hayes, Virginia Department of Health, and Dr. Liese Ritchie, Oklahoma State University; gave presentations and led discussions throughout the day.   At the conclusion of the workshop, participants identified and discussed regional priorities, including spill preparedness, improving science, research projects, public outreach, and recommendations with the goal of making communities’ health and well-being better protected in the future. 

Approximately 75 individuals attended the workshop representing a diverse group of federal, state and local government, industry, academia, and environmental organizations. This was the third such workshop that Sea Grant has hosted. Previous workshops were held in Anchorage, Alaska, and this workshop was the third such workshop that Sea Grant has hosted. The first workshop was held in Anchorage and the second workshop in New Orleans. The next workshop is planned for the West Coast.

For additional information, contact Frank.Csulak@noaa.gov.

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