U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
Regulations most recently checked for updates: Sep 23, 2023
This subpart summarizes emergency preparedness activities relating to discharges of oil and releases of hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants; describes the three levels of contingency planning under the national response system; and cross-references state and local emergency preparedness activities under SARA Title III, also known as the “Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986” but referred to herein as “Title III.” Regulations implementing Title III are codified at 40 CFR subchapter J.
(a) National. As described in § 300.110, the NRT is responsible for national planning and coordination.
(b) Regional. As described in § 300.115, the RRTs are responsible for regional planning and coordination.
(c) Area. As required by section 311(j) of the CWA, under the direction of the federal OSC for its area, Area Committees comprising qualified personnel of federal, state, and local agencies shall be responsible for:
(1) Preparing an ACP for their areas (as described in § 300.210(c));
(2) Working with appropriate federal, state, and local officials to enhance the contingency planning of those officials and to assure pre-planning of joint response efforts, including appropriate procedures for mechanical recovery, dispersal, shoreline cleanup, protection of sensitive environmental areas, and protection, rescue, and rehabilitation of fisheries and wildlife; and
(3) Working with appropriate federal, state, and local officials to expedite decisions for the use of dispersants and other mitigating substances and devices.
(d) State. As provided by sections 301 and 303 of Title III, the SERC of each state, appointed by the Governor, is to designate emergency planning districts, appoint Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs), supervise and coordinate their activities, and review local emergency response plans, which are described in § 300.215. The SERC also is to establish procedures for receiving and processing requests from the public for information generated by Title III reporting requirements and to designate an official to serve as coordinator for information.
(e) Local. As provided by sections 301 and 303 of Title III, emergency planning districts are designated by the SERC in order to facilitate the preparation and implementation of emergency plans. Each LEPC is to prepare a local emergency response plan for the emergency planning district and establish procedures for receiving and processing requests from the public for information generated by Title III reporting requirements. The LEPC is to appoint a chair and establish rules for the LEPC. The LEPC is to designate an official to serve as coordinator for information and designate in its plan a community emergency coordinator.
(f) As required by section 311(j)(5) of the CWA, a tank vessel, as defined under section 2101 of title 46, U.S. Code, an offshore facility, and an onshore facility that, because of its location, could reasonably be expected to cause substantial harm to the environment by discharging into or on the navigable waters, adjoining shorelines, or exclusive economic zone must prepare and submit a plan for responding, to the maximum extent practicable, to a worst case discharge, and to a substantial threat of such a discharge, of oil or a hazardous substance.
(g) The relationship of these plans is described in Figure 4.
There are three levels of contingency plans under the national response system: The National Contingency Plan, RCPs, and ACPs. These plans are available for inspection at EPA regional offices or USCG district offices. Addresses and telephone numbers for these offices may be found in the United States Government Manual, issued annually, or in local telephone directories.
(a) The National Contingency Plan. The purpose and objectives, authority, and scope of the NCP are described in §§ 300.1 through 300.3.
(b) Regional Contingency Plans. The RRTs, working with the states, shall develop federal RCPs for each standard federal region, Alaska, Oceania in the Pacific, and the Caribbean to coordinate timely, effective response by various federal agencies and other organizations to discharges of oil or releases of hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants. RCPs shall, as appropriate, include information on all useful facilities and resources in the region, from government, commercial, academic, and other sources. To the greatest extent possible, RCPs shall follow the format of the NCP and be coordinated with state emergency response plans, ACPs, which are described in § 300.210(c), and Title III local emergency response plans, which are described in § 300.215. Such coordination should be accomplished by working with the SERCs in the region covered by the RCP. RCPs shall contain lines of demarcation between the inland and coastal zones, as mutually agreed upon by USCG and EPA.
(c) Area Contingency Plans. (1) Under the direction of an OSC and subject to approval by the lead agency, each Area Committee, in consultation with the appropriate RRTs, Coast Guard DRGs, the NSFCC, SSCs, LEPCs, and SERCs, shall develop an ACP for its designated area. This plan, when implemented in conjunction with other provisions of the NCP, shall be adequate to remove a worst case discharge under § 300.324, and to mitigate or prevent a substantial threat of such a discharge, from a vessel, offshore facility, or onshore facility operating in or near the area.
(2) The areas of responsibility may include several Title III local planning districts, or parts of such districts. In developing the ACP, the OSC shall coordinate with affected SERCs and LEPCs. The ACP shall provide for a well coordinated response that is integrated and compatible, to the greatest extent possible, with all appropriate response plans of state, local, and non-federal entities, and especially with Title III local emergency response plans.
(3) The ACP shall include the following:
(i) A description of the area covered by the plan, including the areas of special economic or environmental importance that might be damaged by a discharge;
(ii) A description in detail of the responsibilities of an owner or operator and of federal, state, and local agencies in removing a discharge, and in mitigating or preventing a substantial threat of a discharge;
(iii) A list of equipment (including firefighting equipment), dispersants, or other mitigating substances and devices, and personnel available to an owner or operator and federal, state, and local agencies, to ensure an effective and immediate removal of a discharge, and to ensure mitigation or prevention of a substantial threat of a discharge (this may be provided in an appendix or by reference to other relevant emergency plans (e.g., state or LEPC plans), which may include such equipment lists);
(iv) A description of procedures to be followed for obtaining an expedited decision regarding the use of dispersants; and
(v) A detailed description of how the plan is integrated into other ACPs and tank vessel, offshore facility, and onshore facility response plans approved by the President, and into operating procedures of the NSFCC.
(4)(i) In order to provide for coordinated, immediate and effective protection, rescue, and rehabilitation of, and minimization of risk of injury to, fish and wildlife resources and habitat, Area Committees shall incorporate into each ACP a detailed annex containing a Fish and Wildlife and Sensitive Environments Plan that is consistent with the RCP and NCP. The annex shall be prepared in consultation with the USFWS and NOAA and other interested natural resource management agencies and parties. It shall address fish and wildlife resources and their habitat, and shall include other areas considered sensitive environments in a separate section of the annex, based upon Area Committee recommendations. The annex will provide the necessary information and procedures to immediately and effectively respond to discharges that may adversely affect fish and wildlife and their habitat and sensitive environments, including provisions for a response to a worst case discharge. Such information shall include the identification of appropriate agencies and their responsibilities, procedures to notify these agencies following a discharge or threat of a discharge, protocols for obtaining required fish and wildlife permits and other necessary permits, and provisions to ensure compatibility of annex-related activities with removal operations.
(ii) The annex shall:
(A) Identify and establish priorities for fish and wildlife resources and their habitats and other important sensitive areas requiring protection from any direct or indirect effects from discharges that may occur. These effects include, but are not limited to, any seasonal or historical use, as well as all critical, special, significant, or otherwise designated protected areas.
(B) Provide a mechanism to be used during a spill response for timely identification of protection priorities of those fish and wildlife resources and habitats and sensitive environmental areas that may be threatened or injured by a discharge. These include as appropriate, not only marine and freshwater species, habitats, and their food sources, but also terrestrial wildlife and their habitats that may be affected directly by onshore oil or indirectly by oil-related factors, such as loss or contamination of forage. The mechanism shall also provide for expeditious evaluation and appropriate consultations on the effects to fish and wildlife, their habitat, and other sensitive environments from the application of chemical countermeasures or other countermeasures not addressed under paragraph (e)(4)(iii).
(C) Identify potential environmental effects on fish and wildlife, their habitat, and other sensitive environments resulting from removal actions or countermeasures, including the option of no removal. Based on this evaluation of potential environmental effects, the annex should establish priorities for application of countermeasure and removal actions to habitats within the geographic region of the ACP. The annex should establish methods to minimize the identified effects on fish and wildlife because of response activities, including, but not limited to: Disturbance of sensitive areas and habitats; illegal or inadvertent taking or disturbance of fish and wildlife or specimens by response personnel; and fish and wildlife, their habitat, and environmentally sensitive areas coming in contact with various cleaning or bioremediation agents. Furthermore, the annex should identify the areas where the movement of oiled debris may pose a risk to resident, transient, or migratory fish and wildlife, and other sensitive environments and should discuss measures to be considered for removing such oiled debris in a timely fashion to reduce such risk.
(D) Provide for pre-approval of application of specific countermeasures or removal actions that, if expeditiously applied, will minimize adverse spill-induced impacts to fish and wildlife resources, their habitat, and other sensitive environments. Such pre-approval plans must be consistent with paragraphs (c)(4)(ii)(B) and (C) of this section and subpart J requirements, and must have the concurrence of the natural resource trustees.
(E) Provide monitoring plan(s) to evaluate the effectiveness of different countermeasures or removal actions in protecting the environment. Monitoring should include “set-aside” or “control” areas, where no mitigative actions are taken.
(F) Identify and plan for the acquisition and utilization of necessary response capabilities for protection, rescue, and rehabilitation of fish and wildlife resources and habitat. This may include appropriately permitted private organizations and individuals with appropriate expertise and experience. The suitable organizations should be identified in cooperation with natural resource law enforcement agencies. Such capabilities shall include, but not be limited to, identification of facilities and equipment necessary for deterring sensitive fish and wildlife from entering oiled areas, and for capturing, holding, cleaning, and releasing injured wildlife. Plans for the provision of such capabilities shall ensure that there is no interference with other OSC removal operations.
(G) Identify appropriate federal and state agency contacts and alternates responsible for coordination of fish and wildlife rescue and rehabilitation and protection of sensitive environments; identify and provide for required fish and wildlife handling and rehabilitation permits necessary under federal and state laws; and provide guidance on the implementation of law enforcement requirements included under current federal and state laws and corresponding regulations. Requirements include, but are not limited to procedures regarding the capture, transport, rehabilitation, and release of wildlife exposed to or threatened by oil, and disposal of contaminated carcasses of wildlife.
(H) Identify and secure the means for providing, if needed, the minimum required OSHA and EPA training for volunteers, including those who assist with injured wildlife.
(I) Define the requirements for evaluating the compatibility between this annex and non-federal response plans (including those of vessels, facilities, and pipelines) on issues affecting fish and wildlife, their habitat, and sensitive environments.
This section describes and cross-references the regulations that implement section 311(j)(5) of the CWA. A tank vessel, as defined under section 2101 of title 46, U.S. Code, an offshore facility, and an onshore facility that, because of its location, could reasonably expect to cause substantial harm to the environment by discharging into or on the navigable waters, adjoining shorelines, or exclusive economic zone must prepare and submit a plan for responding, to the maximum extent practicable, to a worst case discharge, and to a substantial threat of such a discharge, of oil or a hazardous substance. These response plans are required to be consistent with applicable Area Contingency Plans. These regulations are codified as follows:
(a) For tank vessels, these regulations are codified in 33 CFR part 155;
(b) For offshore facilities, these regulations are codified in 30 CFR part 254;
(c) For non-transportation related onshore facilities, these regulations are codified in 40 CFR 112.20;
(d) For transportation-related onshore facilities, these regulations are codified in 33 CFR part 154;
(e) For pipeline facilities, these regulations are codified in 49 CFR part 194; and
(f) For rolling stock, these regulations are codified in 49 CFR part 106 et al.
The OSC periodically shall conduct drills of removal capability (including fish and wildlife response capability), without prior notice, in areas for which ACPs are required by § 300.210(c) and under relevant tank vessel and facility response plans.
This section describes and cross-references the regulations that implement Title III. These regulations are codified at 40 CFR part 355.
(a) Each LEPC is to prepare an emergency response plan in accordance with section 303 of Title III and review the plan once a year, or more frequently as changed circumstances in the community or at any facility may require. Such Title III local emergency response plans should be closely coordinated with applicable federal ACPs and state emergency response plans.
Other related Title III requirements are found in 40 CFR part 355.