VALDEZ (AP) -- The oil-spill watchdog group for Prince William Sound has been recertified by the Coast Guard for another year despite protests from the industry that the group is too confrontational.
The shipping arms of BP Amoco PLC, Atlantic Richfield Co. and Exxon Mobil Corp. wrote letters to the Coast Guard that criticized the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens Advisory Council.
The oil giants, which provide most of the RCAC's funding, asked that conditions be placed on its recertification in 2000, but the Coast Guard refused.
''The Coast Guard actually took each of the points the shippers made, agreed with us, and disagreed with the shippers,'' said John Devens, RCAC executive director.
The 1990 Oil Pollution Act requires the Coast Guard to seek input from industry, government and the public before deciding whether to recertify the advisory council.
The council, created by the 1990 law, is an independent nonprofit corporation designed to offer advice on environmentally safe operation of the Valdez Marine Terminal.
Coast Guard Admiral T.J. Barrett did not cite any problems with the advisory council's performance in this year's recertification. The Juneau-based Coast Guard district conducted the analysis, which in years past had been handled in Washington, D.C.
Arco and Exxon Mobil had complained to the Coast Guard that the council has been too confrontational for its role as an advisor.
''Both that relationship and the important role of the PWSRCAC have been compromised by a growing tendency of PWSRCAC to adopt the character of an adversary rather than a partner in oil-spill preparedness work,'' wrote Timothy Clossey, Arco Marine Inc. president.
Complaints also focused on the advisory council's actions regarding the state's new tanker spill contingency plans. The advisory council broke with industry on several aspects of the plan.
''Our priorities are different from their priorities,'' Devens said. ''They would like us to always agree with them, but if we always agreed with them, we wouldn't be serving the public.''
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