From the Beginning: The 40 Year History of NOAA’s Emergency Response Division
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From the Beginning: The 40 Year History of NOAA’s Emergency Response Division

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  • Journal Title:
    International Oil Spill Conference Proceedings
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    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Emergency Response Division’s success over 40 years draws on the nascent and sustained vision of its founders and the people that dedicated themselves to providing state of the art science in combatting oil spills and hazardous material releases. Lessons in research, development, partnership, reinvention, reorganization, and adaptation season the story that describes what is now the scientific touchstone in the United States’ maritime spill response vanguard. But the voyage to present day was (and is) not all smooth sailing. The scientists who built the unit and staffed it for decades recall the best, worst, and in between history of a small but highly influential division in the Federal government that helped pioneer spill science in the United States and internationally by responding to over 4,000 incidents. This retrospective highlights the genesis and growth of the 1970’s Outer Continental Shelf Environmental Assessment Program (OCSEAP) and its evolution through Hazardous Materials Response Division (HMRD) to the now Emergency Response Division (ERD). The paper concludes with the vision of what growth areas lie ahead for the Division and oil spill response.
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    International Oil Spill Conference Proceedings, 2017(1), 2408-2431
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