Management of Oil Spills through a Federal Government Approach

Severity and the type of oil spill could necessitate use of more capital intensive resources for effective clean out. Though local governments may offer immediate response strategies thus preventing the spread of the spills, oils involving massive leaks, trans-boundary spills and other types such as those occurring in ice covered waters may need use of resources that are beyond the ability of the local government (Etkin n.d; Moller 1997; Lewis, & Daling 2001; DF Dickins Associates 2004; BC Ministry of Environment 2007; Nuka Research and Planning Group LLC 2007). In such a scenario the partnership between the federal government and private organizations could offer a better approach to managing the spillage as opposed to a local government approach. Though the local government could offer a quick response by avoiding delays that may be associated with bureaucracy, they might not have adequate resources to deal with major oil spills that could affect different countries (Forums on offshore drilling 2010). To manage such oil spills the use of federal resources would provide the necessary impetus for quick clean up of the spill.

One of the advantages of a federal approach towards dealing with oil spillage is that it offers a higher level of technological and professional support than that offered at the local level. Through federally organized systems, professionals can be trained to offer training to community groups that provide the first line of response in case of spillage. In the US for instance a response approach coordinated at the federal level has helped in coming up with effective programs such as Facility Response Plan (FRP) rule that assess how various facilities are prepared for response in the event of a worst case discharge (EPA 2009). Through the FRP rule “facilities that store and use oil are required to prepare and submit plans” according to which their preparedness is evaluated (EPA 2009, p. 1). Other aspects that have been enabled at the federal level of governance that effectuate the oil spill response strategies include reporting requirements for spills and hazardous substances, prevention, control and countermeasure rules, and a national contingency plan that delineates the mitigating devices that can be employed in combating spills (EPA 2010). By having a single authority in the country to oversee spillage management activities, finances are consolidated to help develop better technologies and programs that can be used to deal with advanced oil spills.

A second advantage of using federal government as the basis for instituting oil spillage management programs is to avoid uncertainties on the body or persons responsible for responding to spills that fall outside their region. Such uncertainties where local governments are involved could delay the response hence aggravating the adverse impacts of the spillage (Nuka Research and Planning Group 2005). Similarly a centrally organized response strategy avoids the lack of coordination between various cities and response teams that could affect the effectiveness of the response (Nuka Research and Planning Group 2005). Further through such a central approach the issue of who bears the liability for responding towards spills outside their regions does not arise unless in the case of trans-boarder spillages (Nuka Research and Planning Group 2005). These advantages of federal approach arises out of a centralized approach that consolidates resources focusing them on the most relevant risk areas and avoids uncertainties on where responsibility and liability for response actions lies.

A final advantage for a federal approach is that it provides a better platform to seek external aid where such is needed. The use of a federal approach provides the necessary framework for international cooperation (Moller & Santner 1997). Through such a strategy, countries can make agreements with their partners on exchanging expertise that would better response towards oil spillages (Moller & Santner 1997). If the response strategies are organized at the local level such agreements might be hard to come by due to the absence of a uniform structure on which the agreements may be framed. Advantages of a federal approach towards managing oil spillage thus arises out of a centralized approach that does not only enable it to amass high resources that meet the needs for extensive oil spills but also provides a uniform standard that guides implementation of the strategy.

Irrespective of these advantages of a federal approach to dealing with oil spills various disadvantages reduce its effectiveness. First of these arise where the central organization responsible for implementing the strategy is out of touch with local conditions of a particular region. When such is the case response activities instituted in these regions may either be inadequate or ineffective in dealing with the crisis. A federal approach for oil spillage management also may lead to wastage of resource in case of small spills that can be adequately dealt with by the local community. Such wastages curtail the degree of response where these resources may be highly needed.

To make a federal approach more effective partnerships with the local community are thus necessary. Through such partnerships the federal government can offer response training to the local community through its professional for rapid responses to small spills and effective first response to major spills (Oil Spills Guidelines Development Working Group 2005). An additional role of the federal government in such a case would be to offer technological and financial resources to subvert the spread of oil spillage to levels that become unmanageable. Similarly the federal government can aid in assessing facilities that store and use oil in all the regions to ensure that they all meet uniform standards that have been predetermined for enhancing preparedness. Go to conclusion here.

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