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Notice

Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Public Advisory Group; Renewal of Charter

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AGENCY:

Office of the Secretary, Interior.

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

This notice is published in accordance with 41 CFR Part 101-6, section 101-6.1015(a), Committee establishment, reestablishment, or renewal. Following the recommendation and approval of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council, the Secretary of the Interior hereby renews the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Public Advisory Group Charter to continue for approximately 2 years, to September 30, 2002.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Douglas Mutter, Department of the Interior, Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance, 1689 “C” Street, Suite 119, Anchorage, Alaska, (907) 271-5011.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

On March 24, 1989, the T/V Exxon Valdez ran aground on Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound in Alaska spilling approximately 11 million gallons of North Slope crude oil. Oil moved into the Gulf of Alaska, along the Kenai coast to Kodiak Island and the Alaska Peninsula—some 600 miles from Bligh Reef. Massive clean-up and containment efforts were initiated and continued to 1992. On October 8, 1991, an agreement was approved by the United States District Court for the District of Alaska that settled claims of the United States and the State of Alaska against the Exxon Corporation and the Exxon Shipping Company for various criminal and civil violations. Under the civil settlement, Exxon agreed to pay to the governments $900 million over a period of 10 years.

The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council was established to manage the funds obtained from the civil settlement of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill. The Trustee Council is composed of three State of Alaska trustees (Attorney General; Commissioner, Department of Environmental Conservation; and Commissioner, Department of Fish and Game) and three Federal representatives appointed by the Federal Trustees (Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture; the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and the Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior).

The Public Advisory Group was created by Paragraph V.A.4 of the Memorandum of Agreement and Consent Decree entered into by the United States of America and the State of Alaska on August 27, 1991 and approved by the United States District Court for the District of Alaska in settlement of United States of America v. State of Alaska, Civil Action No. A91-081 CV. The Public Advisory Group was chartered by the Secretary of the Interior on October 23, 1992, and functions solely as an advisory body, and in compliance with the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App. (1988)).

The Public Advisory Group was established to advise the Trustee Council, and began functioning in October 1992. The Public Advisory Group consists of 17 members representing the following principal interests: sport hunting and fishing, environmental, public-at-large (5), recreation users, local government, science/academic, conservation, subsistence, commercial fishing, aquaculture, commercial tourism, forest products, and Native landowners. Members are appointed to serve a 2-year term.

To carry out its advisory role, the Public Advisory Group makes recommendations to, and advises, the Trustee Council in Alaska on the following matters:

All decisions related to injury assessment, restoration activities, or other use of natural resource damage recovery monies obtained by the governments, including all decisions regarding:

a. Planning, evaluation and allocation of available funds;

b. Planning, evaluation and conduct of injury assessment; and

c. Planning, evaluation and conduct of restoration activities.

Trustee Council intentions regarding the importance of obtaining a diversity of viewpoints is stated in the Public Advisory Group Background and Guidelines (March 1993, updated June 1994 and August 1996): “The Trustee Council intends that the Public Advisory Group be established as an important component of the Council's public involvement process.” The Council continues, stating their desire that “* * * a wide spectrum of views and interest are available for the Council to consider as it evaluates, develops, and implements restoration activities. It is the Council's intent that the diversity of interests and views held by the Public Advisory Group members contribute to wide ranging discussions that will be of benefit to the Trustee Council.”

In order to ensure that a broad range of public viewpoints continues to be available to the Trustee Council, and in keeping with the settlement agreement, the continuation of the Public Advisory Group for another 2-year period is necessary.

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Dated: November 29, 2000.

Bruce Babbitt,

Secretary of the Interior.

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[FR Doc. 00-31677 Filed 12-12-00; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4310-RC-M