A retired U.S. Coast Guard commander who served on the federal committee that investigated the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska took over last week as manager of Clean Seas, an oil cleanup cooperative for the south-central California coast.
Darryle M. Waldron took the post vacated by Skip Onstad, now general manager of the Port Hueneme-based Pacific Southwest Regional Response Center, created to handle catastrophic spills along the Pacific Coast from Mexico to Northern California.
Clean Seas, also industry-financed, is responsible for cleaning up small and moderate spills along the 250 miles from Point Dume north to the Santa Barbara-San Luis Obispo County line, home to more than half of California’s offshore rigs.
Waldron, 47, was the Coast Guard’s representative in the National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation into the Prince Edward Sound spill last year. At the time of the spill, Waldron was based in Alaska as coordinator of the regional response team. Before taking his new job, he was assistant division chief for port safety and security at the Coast Guard’s Washington, D.C., headquarters, where he directed pollution prevention and enforcement.
Waldron, a Florida native, said Thursday that he anticipates no difficulty in shifting from policing the oil industry to advising and directing industry cleanup efforts. “I’ve always been able to work well with all kinds of people both in the public and private sectors,” he said.
Clean Seas, based in Carpinteria, maintains three oil spill cleanup and recovery vessels. Waldron said that, in recent years, the cooperative has been called upon to handle few spills exceeding a barrel of oil.