The head of CIRCAC stepping down

Posted: Sunday, March 02, 2003

KENAI (AP) -- Jim Carter, the executive director of the Cook Inlet Regional Citizens Advisory Council, is retiring.

Carter is leaving the organization he helped create and operations director Mike Munger is taking over. Munger worked for the Department of Environmental Conservation for a little more than 10 years. Prior to that, he worked in the oil industry from Cook Inlet to the North Slope.

He also was the environmental project manager for Alaska Technical Services in the 1980s.

''He has a great background in the environmental community having been with the DEC,'' Carter said.

CIRCAC was established 13 years ago following the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill to represent Cook Inlet citizens in promoting safe oil transportation and production. The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 passed by Congress also established the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens Advisory Council.

Carter was the CIRCAC's first president back in 1990 and helped write its bylaws and constitution. He left for a while and worked for a short while as special assistant to Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Don Gilman.

Carter was hired in July 1998 to serve as CIRCAC's temporary director for six months, and stayed on.

He helped create and became the first executive director of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Economic Development District. Carter also served on the Alaska Public Utility Commission under Governor Wally Hickel. And for 14 years he was commander of the Alaska Civil Air Patrol.

CIRCAC has no regulatory authority. Its mandate is to advise, recommend and monitor the industry.

Carter's major accomplishment was seeking funding and developing a budget of more than $1 million in 2002. It was the first time the organization's budget had topped the million-dollar mark, Howell said.

Carter said creating the public outreach position was among the council's top priorities when he took over as executive director in 1998.

''My challenge was to go to the oil industry, which funds us, for an increase in their annual funding to set up such a position,'' Carter said. ''They saw the advantage of that and they did contribute.''

Being able to push the agency's budget above $1 million in 2002 was largely due to contributions from the Kenai Peninsula Borough amounting to $250,000 in fiscal year 2002 and $210,000 in the current borough fiscal year, he said.

Much of the money is used to do scientific work, including a habitat monitoring program, as well as funding the Prevention, Response, Operations and Safety Program and the outreach program.

Those programs, in turn, helped generate a lot of interest from other organizations that now partner with CIRCAC, Carter said, including such agencies as the U.S. Park Service, the Minerals Management Service and the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Restoration Office.

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