OSRI was born out of the Exxon Valdez oil spill and authorized by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA90) to, “identify and develop the best available techniques, equipment, and materials for dealing with oil spills,” and to, “determine, document, assess and understand the long range effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill on the natural resources of Prince William Sound.”
In 1996, Congress amended the act to expand the area of emphasis to Arctic and sub-Arctic marine environments.
The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 established OSRI. Amendments in 1996 and 2004 extended the original mandate through September 2012 and provided a funding mechanism for the Institute. Legislation in 2005 assures that OSRI’s research program will continue as long as oil exploration and development occurs in Alaska.
Headquarters in Alaska
OPA90 identifies the administrator and home of OSRI as the Prince William Sound Science Center, a non-profit research and education organization located in Cordova. The Science Center facilitates and encourages ecosystem studies in the Greater Prince William Sound region.
Funding Spill Response Research
OSRI receives annual interest earnings from a portion of the National Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund. Since 1998, OSRI has spent approximately $900,000 per year to support a wide range of projects, including those that improve knowledge of how oil moves in the ocean and under ice, how to find it, and how to clean it up.