U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
Regulations most recently checked for updates: May 30, 2023
(a) In accordance with CWA and CERCLA, the Administrator of EPA or the Secretary of the department in which the USCG is operating, as appropriate, is authorized to act for the United States to take response measures deemed necessary to protect the public health or welfare or environment from discharges of oil or releases of hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants except with respect to such releases on or from vessels or facilities under the jurisdiction, custody, or control of other federal agencies.
(b) The Administrator of EPA or the Secretary of the department in which the USCG is operating, as appropriate, is authorized to initiate and, in the case of a discharge posing a substantial threat to public health or welfare of the United States is required to initiate and direct, appropriate response activities when the Administrator or Secretary determines that any oil or CWA hazardous substance is discharged or there is a substantial threat of such discharge from any vessel or offshore or onshore facility into or on the navigable waters of the United States, on the adjoining shorelines to the navigable waters, into or on the waters of the exclusive economic zone, or that may affect natural resources belonging to, appertaining to, or under exclusive management authority of the United States; or
(c) The Administrator of EPA or the Secretary of the department in which the USCG is operating, as appropriate, is authorized to initiate appropriate response activities when the Administrator or Secretary determines that any hazardous substance is released or there is a threat of such a release into the environment, or there is a release or threat of release into the environment of any pollutant or contaminant which may present an imminent and substantial danger to the public health or welfare of the United States.
(d) In addition to any actions taken by a state or local government, the Administrator of EPA or the Secretary of the department in which the USCG is operating may request the U.S. Attorney General to secure the relief from any person, including the owner or operator of the vessel or facility necessary to abate a threat or, after notice to the affected state, take any other action authorized by section 311 of the CWA or section 106 of CERCLA as appropriate, including issuing administrative orders, that may be necessary to protect the public health or welfare, if the Administrator or Secretary determines:
(1) That there may be an imminent and substantial threat to the public health or welfare of the United States or the environment of the United States, including fish, shellfish, and wildlife, public and private property, shorelines, beaches, habitats, and other living and nonliving natural resources under the jurisdiction or control of the United States, because of an actual or threatened discharge of oil or a CWA hazardous substance from any vessel or offshore or onshore facility into or upon the navigable waters of the United States; or
(2) That there may be an imminent and substantial endangerment to the public health or welfare of the United States or the environment because of a release of a CERCLA hazardous substance from a facility.
(e) Response actions to remove discharges originating from operations conducted subject to the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act shall be in accordance with the NCP.
(f) Where appropriate, when a discharge or release involves radioactive materials, the lead or support federal agency shall act consistent with the notification and assistance procedures described in the appropriate Federal Radiological Plan. For the purpose of the NCP, the FRERP (24 CFR part 2401) is the appropriate plan. Most radiological discharges and releases do not result in FRERP activation and should be handled in accordance with the NCP. However, releases from nuclear incidents subject to requirements for financial protection established by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission under the Price-Anderson amendments (section 170) of the Atomic Energy Act are specifically excluded from CERCLA and NCP requirements.
(g) Removal actions involving nuclear weapons should be conducted in accordance with the joint Department of Defense, Department of Energy, and FEMA Agreement for Response to Nuclear Incidents and Nuclear Weapons Significant Incidents (January 8, 1981).
(h) If the situation is beyond the capability of state and local governments and the statutory authority of federal agencies, the President may, under the Disaster Relief Act of 1974, act upon a request by the governor and declare a major disaster or emergency and appoint a Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO) to coordinate all federal disaster assistance activities. In such cases, the OSC/RPM would continue to carry out OSC/RPM responsibilities under the NCP, but would coordinate those activities with the FCO to ensure consistency with other federal disaster assistance activities.
(i) In the event of a declaration of a major disaster by the President, the FEMA may activate the Federal Response Plan (FRP). A FCO, designated by the President, may implement the FRP and coordinate and direct emergency assistance and disaster relief of impacted individuals, business, and public services under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief Act. Delivery of federal assistance is facilitated through twelve functional annexes to the FRP known as Emergency Support Functions (ESFs). EPA coordinates activities under ESF #10—Hazardous Materials, which addresses preparedness and response to hazardous materials and oil incidents caused by a natural disaster or other catastrophic event. In such cases, the OSC/RPM should coordinate response activities with the FCO, through the incident-specific ESF #10 Chair, to ensure consistency with federal disaster assistance activities.