U.S. Code of Federal Regulations

Regulations most recently checked for updates: Oct 03, 2023

§ 300.115 - Regional Response Teams.

(a) Regional planning and coordination of preparedness and response actions is accomplished through the RRT. In the case of a discharge of oil, preparedness activities will be carried out in conjunction with Area Committees, as appropriate. The RRT agency membership parallels that of the NRT, as described in § 300.110, but also includes state and local representation. The RRT provides:

(1) The appropriate regional mechanism for development and coordination of preparedness activities before a response action is taken and for coordination of assistance and advice to the OSC/RPM during such response actions; and

(2) Guidance to Area Committees, as appropriate, to ensure inter-area consistency and consistency of individual ACPs with the RCP and NCP.

(b) The two principal components of the RRT mechanism are a standing team, which consists of designated representatives from each participating federal agency, state governments, and local governments (as agreed upon by the states); and incident-specific teams formed from the standing team when the RRT is activated for a response. On incident-specific teams, participation by the RRT member agencies will relate to the technical nature of the incident and its geographic location.

(1) The standing team's jurisdiction corresponds to the standard federal regions, except for Alaska, Oceania in the Pacific, and the Caribbean area, each of which has a separate standing RRT. The role of the standing RRT includes communications systems and procedures, planning, coordination, training, evaluation, preparedness, and related matters on a regionwide basis. It also includes coordination of Area Committees for these functions in areas within their respective regions, as appropriate.

(2) The role of the incident-specific team is determined by the operational requirements of the response to a specific discharge or release. Appropriate levels of activation and/or notification of the incident-specific RRT, including participation by state and local governments, shall be determined by the designated RRT chair for the incident, based on the RCP. The incident-specific RRT supports the designated OSC/RPM. The designated OSC/RPM directs response efforts and coordinates all other efforts at the scene of a discharge or release.

(c) The representatives of EPA and the USCG shall act as co-chairs of RRTs except when the RRT is activated. When the RRT is activated for response actions, the chair shall be the member agency providing the OSC/RPM.

(d) Each participating agency should designate one member and at least one alternate member to the RRT. Agencies whose regional subdivisions do not correspond to the standard federal regions may designate additional representatives to the standing RRT to ensure appropriate coverage of the standard federal region. Participating states may also designate one member and at least one alternate member to the RRT. Indian tribal governments may arrange for representation with the RRT appropriate to their geographical location. All agencies and states may also provide additional representatives as observers to meetings of the RRT.

(e) RRT members should designate representatives and alternates from their agencies as resource personnel for RRT activities, including RRT work planning, and membership on incident-specific teams in support of the OSCs/RPMs.

(f) Federal RRT members or their representatives should provide OSCs/RPMs with assistance from their respective federal agencies commensurate with agency responsibilities, resources, and capabilities within the region. During a response action, the members of the RRT should seek to make available the resources of their agencies to the OSC/RPM as specified in the RCP and ACP.

(g) RRT members should nominate appropriately qualified representatives from their agencies to work with OSCs in developing and maintaining ACPs.

(h) Affected states are encouraged to participate actively in all RRT activities. Each state governor is requested to assign an office or agency to represent the state on the appropriate RRT; to designate representatives to work with the RRT in developing RCPs; to plan for, make available, and coordinate state resources; and to serve as the contact point for coordination of response with local government agencies, whether or not represented on the RRT. The state's RRT representative should keep the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC), described in § 300.205(d), apprised of RRT activities and coordinate RRT activities with the SERC. Local governments are invited to participate in activities on the appropriate RRT as provided by state law or as arranged by the state's representative. Indian tribes are also invited to participate in such activities.

(i) The standing RRT shall recommend changes in the regional response organization as needed, revise the RCP as needed, evaluate the preparedness of the participating agencies and the effectiveness of ACPs for the federal response to discharges and releases, and provide technical assistance for preparedness to the response community. The RRT should:

(1) Review and comment, to the extent practicable, on local emergency response plans or other issues related to the preparation, implementation, or exercise of such plans upon request of a local emergency planning committee;

(2) Evaluate regional and local responses to discharges or releases on a continuing basis, considering available legal remedies, equipment readiness, and coordination among responsible public agencies and private organizations, and recommend improvements;

(3) Recommend revisions of the NCP to the NRT, based on observations of response operations;

(4) Review OSC actions to ensure that RCPs and ACPs are effective;

(5) Encourage the state and local response community to improve its preparedness for response;

(6) In coordination with Area Committees and in accordance with any applicable laws, regulations, or requirements, conduct advance planning for use of dispersants, surface washing agents, surface collecting agents, burning agents, bioremediation agents, or other chemical agents in accordance with subpart J of this part;

(7) Be prepared to provide response resources to major discharges or releases outside the region;

(8) Conduct or participate in training and exercises as necessary to encourage preparedness activities of the response community within the region;

(9) Meet at least semiannually to review response actions carried out during the preceding period, consider changes in RCPs, and recommend changes in ACPs;

(10) Provide letter reports on RRT activities to the NRT twice a year, no later than January 31 and July 31. At a minimum, reports should summarize recent activities, organizational changes, operational concerns, and efforts to improve state and local coordination; and

(11) Ensure maximum participation in the national exercise program for announced and unannounced exercises.

(j)(1) The RRT may be activated by the chair as an incident-specific response team when a discharge or release:

(i) Exceeds the response capability available to the OSC/RPM in the place where it occurs;

(ii) Transects state boundaries;

(iii) May pose a substantial threat to the public health or welfare of the United States or the environment, or to regionally significant amounts of property; or

(iv) Is a worst case discharge, as described in § 300.324. RCPs shall specify detailed criteria for activation of RRTs.

(2) The RRT will be activated during any discharge or release upon a request from the OSC/RPM, or from any RRT representative, to the chair of the RRT. Requests for RRT activation shall later be confirmed in writing. Each representative, or an appropriate alternate, should be notified immediately when the RRT is activated.

(3) During prolonged removal or remedial action, the RRT may not need to be activated or may need to be activated only in a limited sense, or may need to have available only those member agencies of the RRT who are directly affected or who can provide direct response assistance.

(4) When the RRT is activated for a discharge or release, agency representatives shall meet at the call of the chair and may:

(i) Monitor and evaluate reports from the OSC/RPM, advise the OSC/RPM on the duration and extent of response, and recommend to the OSC/RPM specific actions to respond to the discharge or release;

(ii) Request other federal, state, or local governments, or private agencies, to provide resources under their existing authorities to respond to a discharge or release or to monitor response operations;

(iii) Help the OSC/RPM prepare information releases for the public and for communication with the NRT;

(iv) If the circumstances warrant, make recommendations to the regional or district head of the agency providing the OSC/RPM that a different OSC/RPM should be designated; and

(v) Submit pollution reports to the NRC as significant developments occur.

(5) At the regional level, a Regional Response Center (RRC) may provide facilities and personnel for communications, information storage, and other requirements for coordinating response. The location of each RRC should be provided in the RCP.

(6) When the RRT is activated, affected states may participate in all RRT deliberations. State government representatives participating in the RRT have the same status as any federal member of the RRT.

(7) The RRT can be deactivated when the incident-specific RRT chair determines that the OSC/RPM no longer requires RRT assistance.

(8) Notification of the RRT may be appropriate when full activation is not necessary, with systematic communication of pollution reports or other means to keep RRT members informed as to actions of potential concern to a particular agency, or to assist in later RRT evaluation of regionwide response effectiveness.

(k) Whenever there is insufficient national policy guidance on a matter before the RRT, a technical matter requiring solution, a question concerning interpretation of the NCP, or a disagreement on discretionary actions among RRT members that cannot be resolved at the regional level, it may be referred to the NRT, described in § 300.110, for advice.