DURHAM, N.H. – Oil spill expert Nancy Kinner, professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of New Hampshire, is available to comment on the 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. As director of UNH’s Center for Spills in the Environment, Kinner has led workshops and briefed U.S. Congressional legislative staff members on issues regarding the transport and spill of oil products.

“Technology has improved greatly since the Exxon Valdez hit a reef in Prince William Sound in 1989 and spilled 11 million gallons of crude oil,” says Kinner. “Yet we see more drilling activity than ever before, in less accessible areas like the Arctic and with more complex extraction procedures, such as fracking. So chances of an accident have increased, and we need to be prepared to mitigate the damage. We’ve got to be putting money into infrastructure, and we’ve got to be thinking about how to improve spill response.”

Kinner is recognized as a leading independent expert on the fate of spilled oil. During the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Kinner was sought after for her expertise by hundreds of national media outlets and testified before federal lawmakers three times. In addition, she has taken a leadership role in creating and disseminating scientific knowledge in support of clean-up efforts, convening several high-level meetings among spill responders, scientists, and other stakeholders in the Gulf of Mexico spill region.

In October, the University of New Hampshire will host a two-day forum on “Oil Spill Response 25 Years After Exxon Valdez and in the Wake of Macondo 252: What Have We Learned and What Are We Missing?” Learn more: http://www.crrc.unh.edu/sites/crrc.unh.edu/files/unh_25th_exxon_valdez_oil_spill_forum.pdf.

The Center for Spills in the Environment (CSE), founded at UNH in 2003, addresses a range of hydrocarbon-based spill topics with stakeholders in government, industry, and academia. It draws on UNH’s expertise in marine science, ocean engineering, and environmental science and New Hampshire’s independent position as a state with no oil production or refining. The CSE is the sister center to the NOAA-funded Coastal Response Research Center (CRRC), established as a partnership between NOAA and UNH in 2004, and is part of the Environmental Research Group at UNH.

The University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a world-class public research university with the feel of a New England liberal arts college. A land, sea, and space-grant university, UNH is the state's flagship public institution, enrolling 12,300 undergraduate and 2,200 graduate students.

A photograph of Nancy Kinner is available to download: http://www.unh.edu/news/releases/2014/03/images/kinnerheadshot-6760.jpgCredit: UNH Photographic Services

Contact Nancy Kinner via kathy.mandsager@unh.edu or 603-862-1545. UNH Media Relations has an on-site ReadyCam broadcast studio available through VideoLink (617-340-4300) for television interviews and an ISDN line for radio interviews.

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