"Environmentalists, fishermen and others in the Copper River region are spearheading a new effort to boost citizen monitoring of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline.
For now, it's hard to tell if their work will pay off. But recently, they've made some headway: A leader within the group, Cordova-based Copper River Watershed Project, received a grant from the federal government's pipeline oversight agency to develop a plan to improve citizen monitoring of the 800-mile line.
For years, environmentalists and some rural communities have argued the trans-Alaska oil pipeline, built more than 30 years ago, deserves the same level of citizen watchdogging as oil shipping in Prince William Sound and Cook Inlet. Congress created industry-funded, citizen-led oversight groups to monitor risks in the Sound and the Inlet after the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill."