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EPA, Spectra Energy to conduct oil spill drill in Casper, Wyoming on May 14

Release Date: 05/12/2014
Contact Information: John Dalton, 303-312-6633

(Denver, Colo. -- May 12, 2014) The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Spectra Energy, and more than two dozen federal, state, county, city and private organizations will participate in an emergency response exercise at locations along Casper Creek and the North Platte River in Casper, Wyoming, on Wednesday, May 14. The full-scale exercise is being conducted by EPA’s National Preparedness for Response Exercise Program (PREP) and is designed to comply with requirements of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 for spill-response readiness.

Over a six-hour period beginning at 8 a.m., exercise elements will include operations required to assess the simulated spill situation, organize the response, develop incident objectives, and manage the initial discharge. The mock response will incorporate the simulated failure of an oil distribution and storage facility and include three designated control points on the North Platte River, which is downstream from the initial discharge.

Field venues will be established along Casper Creek and the North Platte River. Representatives of EPA and Spectra Energy will be available to receive media inquiries concerning the exercise at a field venue near South Poplar Street and King Boulevard between 9 and 10 a.m.

Each control point will be clearly marked and staffed by an exercise controller and a site safety officer who will oversee the procedures developed for participants involved in containment and recovery operations. On-site observers and signage will prominently reassure the public that the exercise is a simulation and not a “real-world” event.

All area waterways will remain open and navigable throughout the exercise. If a “real-world” incident should occur during containment or recovery procedures, the exercise could be suspended or terminated by the exercise director.

The exercise is designed to address goals specific to emergency response and incident management of a regional event, including:

        Enhance response operations for a major oil release/discharge;
        Validate plans and systems needed to ensure the highest level of preparedness;
        Reinforce public/private partnerships to develop a viable local response capability;
        Meet PREP requirements and Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program guidelines for exercise conduct.

Local citizens, businesses, public authorities, media outlets, and others should be aware that this is an exercise. This environmental response exercise allows participants to practice and fine tune response capabilities in a setting that approximates real circumstances. Such training is necessary to ensure that EPA, other federal and local authorities, and private companies in the area are capable of providing a rapid and effective response in the event of a real incident.