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Notice

Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council; Renewal of the Public Advisory Committee Charter

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AGENCY:

Office of the Secretary, Department of the Interior.

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

This notice is published in accordance with 41 CFR Part 102-3, Subpart B, How Are Advisory Committees Established, Renewed, Reestablished, and Terminated. 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 Committee Charter to continue for approximately 2 years, to September 30, 2006.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Douglas Mutter, Department of the Interior, Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance, 1689 “C” Street, Room 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 Start Printed Page 62719million over a period of 10 years. An additional 5-year period was established to possibly make additional claims.

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 Committee was created pursuant to 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 Committee was originally chartered as the Public Advisory Group 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, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.).

The Public Advisory Committee was established to advise the Trustee Council, and began functioning in October 1992. The Public Advisory Committee consists of 20 members representing the following principal interests: sport hunting and fishing, conservation and environmental, public-at-large, recreation users, commercial tourism, local government, science/technical, subsistence, commercial fishing, aquaculture and mariculture, marine transportation, regional monitoring programs, tribal government, and Native landowners. Members are appointed to serve a 2-year term.

To carry out its advisory role, the Public Advisory Committee 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 restoration activities;

c. Planning, evaluation and conduct of long-term monitoring and research activities; and

d. Coordination of a, b, and c.

Trustee Council intentions regarding the importance of obtaining a diversity of viewpoints is stated in the Public Advisory Committee Background and Guidelines: “The Trustee Council intends that the Public Advisory Committee 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 Committee 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 Committee for another two-year period is recommended.

Certification

I hereby certify that the renewal of the Charter of the Public Advisory Committee, an advisory committee to make recommendations to and advise the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council mandated by the settlement of United States of America v. State of Alaska, No. A91-081 CV, and is in accordance with the comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980, as amended and supplemented.

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Dated: October 12, 2004.

Gale A. Norton,

Secretary of the Interior.

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[FR Doc. 04-23990 Filed 10-26-04; 8:45 am]

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