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OR&R Staff Participate in Spill of National Significance Seminar and Exercise

JULY 18, 2022 — On June 22, 2022, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Coast Guard District 13, and Regional Response Team 10 held a Spill of National Significance Seminar in Astoria, Oregon.

Pollution boom around a vessel.
The Current Buster system in action. Image credit: NOAA/Faith Knighton.

This event was designed to foster a collaborative dialogue and promote partnerships through a unified review of the National Recovery Framework, National Response System, National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan, and other plans and policies applicable in the wake of a catastrophic Cascadia Subduction Zone rupture and SONS incident. 

Presentations and discussions covered how to increase interagency coordination, information management, resource allocation, best practices, and lessons learned, with an emphasis on creating an inclusive, whole-community approach and improving equity in emergency management. 

On June 23, the regional response team hosted a “Current Buster” exercise aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Elm, with participants also observing from a charter vessel. The Current Buster is a towable air-inflated boom system designed to collect, separate, and contain oil at speeds ranging from 0.5 up to 3 knots in calm, sheltered waters. The equipment includes collection gear, skimmers, and containment storage that was deployed from the Elm. The goal of the exercise was to operationalize the memo of understanding between the Coast Guard and the U.S. Navy. Coast Guard and Navy crew successfully deployed, operated, and recovered the gear on the Columbia River. Numerous observers and VIPs attended and participated in this exercise and discussed oil spill response capabilities. 

NOAA participants in the SONS Seminar and exercise included CDR Faith Knighton, who is the scientific support coordinator for the Pacific Northwest and the NOAA Regional Response Team 10 alternate; LTJG Kyle Vincent, regional response officer with OR&R's Emergency Response Division; and Matt Solum, regional response and preparedness specialist with the National Weather Service.

For further information, contact CDR Faith Knighton at

Last updated Tuesday, November 8, 2022 1:41pm PST