Science Coordinator, BP MDL 2179 PSC (December 2010 to March 2012). Retained by the Plaintiff’s Steering Committee for the British Petroleum Multi-District Litigation to oversee scientific support for the transport, fate and environmental effects of oil released from the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. Responsibilities included formulating the overall science strategy, identifying and recruiting internationally recognized experts to support it, and providing scientific guidance, insight and advice to the PSC attorneys. This case recently settled for ~$7.8B on terms favorable to the PSC, based in part on the strength of the scientific positions established by the expert team I recruited.
Jet A Fuel Oil Review for the Vancouver Airport Fuel Delivery Project (January – February 2012). Retained by Coastal & Ocean Resources Inc. to review ecotoxicological risks posed by jet A/A-1 fuels and additives following accidental spills.
Expert Witness, Northern Gateway Pipeline Proposal (May to December 2011). Retained by Janes Freedman Kyle Law Corporation on behalf of the Gitxa’ala First Nation for a scientific expert panel to review environmental risks presented by the Northern Gateway pipeline project from Edmonton, Alberta to Kitimat, British Columbia proposed by Enbridge Corporation.
Pacific Science Director, Oceana (November 2008 to December 2010). My main focus was to foster and coordinate the collaborative development and articulation of the scientific rationale for ocean policy recommendations of the Pacific Team of Oceana. My responsibilities included ensuring that policy recommendations have a firm scientific basis and providing scientific advice regarding advocacy and litigation priorities. As supervisor of the Pacific Team’s scientific staff, I was also responsible for the scientific defense of Oceana’s advocacy positions at scientific, litigation and policy venues relevant to Pacific and Arctic Ocean issues, including their articulation in media ranging from op/ed articles and news releases to peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts, and for supporting these activities through grant writing. Finally, I promoted our contacts with the scientific community engaged in ocean and climate research, with relevant government agencies and with other environmental organizations, which included organizing the scientific program for the 2009 International Arctic Fisheries Symposium held in Anchorage, Alaska.
Expert Witness, Cosco Busan Oil Spill (April 2009 to April 2011). Retained by Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy LLP to provide advice and testimony on behalf of fishing industry plaintiffs injured by the 2008 Cosco Busan oil spill in San Francisco Bay, California.
Expert Witness, Lake Wabamun Oil Spill (October 2007 to November 2008). On loan from the US Government to the Government of Canada, I designed and supervised a study to estimate the amount of oil remaining in Lake Wabamun , Alberta following a Canadian National derailment a year earlier, and wrote an expert opinion on the implications of the results. Case settled out of court in favor of the government.
Supervisory Research Chemist, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service (1982 through November 2008). My four basic responsibilities include acting as principal investigator (PI) on research projects, managing the Center’s marine chemistry laboratory, advising the government’s legal team on the long-term fate and effects of the1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, and reviewing research products that touch on the environmental chemistry of oil for the Center and for numerous peer-reviewed environmental journals.
Research Project Principal Investigator. This includes conceiving, designing, securing funding, executing, analyzing and publishing results for environmental research projects, usually in collaboration with numerous colleagues and support staff. Most of my work has been on the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Major projects included: (1) assessment of the initial distribution and persistence of the spilled oil in seawater; (2) discovery and elucidation of a cryptic toxicity mechanism through which oil pollution is nearly 1,000-fold more toxic to fish eggs than previously thought; (3) definitive refutation of alternative hydrocarbon pollution sources advanced by scientists employed by Exxon Corp. as plausible causes of biological effects in the Exxon Valdez impact area; (4) discovery of a natural hydrocarbon trophic tracer in the marine food web of the northern Gulf of Alaska; and (5) quantitative measurement of the amount and loss rate of Exxon Valdez oil lingering in beaches 12 years or longer after the incident. Each of these was funded at $500K to $5M, and I played the leading role on all but the second. A summary of these projects appeared in Science as a review article I co-authored in 2003 (See Peterson, C.H et al.).
Manager, AFSC Marine Chemistry Laboratory. I presided over a major expansion of the AFSC marine chemistry laboratory in the aftermath of the Exxon Valdez spill, when the government urgently needed additional capacity capable of meeting the stringent standards imposed by impending litigation. Staff increased nearly tenfold from two, and successfully qualified as one of only three such facilities nationally to participate, generating revenues of $500K - $1M annually. Today the facility is internationally recognized, specializing in the environmental analysis of hydrocarbons, biogenic lipids in support of nutritional ecology studies, and high-precision characterization of the marine carbonate buffer system in support of incipient studies on ocean acidification.
Scientific Advisor to the Exxon Valdez Legal Team for the Governments of Alaska and the United States. The civil settlement between Exxon Corp. and the governments of Alaska and the US created a $900M fund administered by the Exxon Valdez Trustee Council that supported scientific studies, habitat acquisition and other impact offsets. I was one of four scientists selected to design the Council’s scientific review policy and administrative structure, and I have since provided policy guidance on request on numerous occasions, leading to publication of the 1993 symposium presenting the initial findings of the Exxon Valdez oil spill impacts as a book, establishment of and support for the annual Alaska Marine Science Conference begun in 1993, and leading the team that drafted the scientific support for invoking the $100M “re-opener” clause of the Exxon Valdez settlement on behalf of the US Department of Justice.
Reviewer and Advisor for the AFSC on Chemistry Issues. In addition to providing peer-review of dozens of manuscripts submitted to scientific journals and proposals submitted to various funding agencies, I provided scientific advice to or on behalf of NMFS management. This includes providing occasional invited testimony to the Alaska Legislature and Governor, NOAA management and the Scientific and Statistical Committee of the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council, and advice to government agencies in Canada, China, Norway and Russia.
- Bachelor of Science, Biochemistry and Philosophy, University of California at Riverside, 1973
- Master of Science, Physical Chemistry, University of California at Santa Cruz, 1982
- Doctor of Philosophy, Fisheries Biology, University of Alaska at Fairbanks, 2005
- Languages: Mandarin Chinese (speak, read and write); Russian (read)
Selected Activities and Honors:
- Bronze Medal, U. S. Department of Commerce, “For scientific research and publications describing the long-term, insidious effects of oil pollution on fish embryos at parts per billion levels”
- Program reviewer for studies conducted by the Korean Ocean Research & Development Institute on the effects of the 2007 Hebei Spirit oil spill in Korea
- Appointment as Visiting Professor for the Key Laboratory of Oil Spill Identification and Damage Assessment Technology, State Oceanic Administration, Qingdao, People’s Republic of China
- Coordinating scientist for an on-going, privately-funded studies of the impacts of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and toxic metals on the Athabasca River system from tar sands mining, in conjunction with the University of Alberta, the University of Saskatchewan and Queen’s University in Canada
- Advisor to the Sakhalin Research Institute for Fisheries & Oceanography for hydrocarbon monitoring and analysis, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Russian Federation