U.S. Code of Federal Regulations

Regulations most recently checked for updates: Jun 03, 2023

§ 300.135 - Response operations.

(a) The OSC/RPM, consistent with §§ 300.120 and 300.125, shall direct response efforts and coordinate all other efforts at the scene of a discharge or release. As part of the planning and preparation for response, the OSCs/RPMs shall be predesignated by the regional or district head of the lead agency.

(b) The first federal official affiliated with an NRT member agency to arrive at the scene of a discharge or release should coordinate activities under the NCP and is authorized to initiate, in consultation with the OSC, any necessary actions normally carried out by the OSC until the arrival of the predesignated OSC. This official may initiate federal fund-financed actions only as authorized by the OSC or, if the OSC is unavailable, the authorized representative of the lead agency.

(c) The OSC/RPM shall, to the extent practicable, collect pertinent facts about the discharge or release, such as its source and cause; the identification of potentially responsible parties; the nature, amount, and location of discharged or released materials; the probable direction and time of travel of discharged or released materials; whether the discharge is a worst case discharge as discussed in § 300.324; the pathways to human and environmental exposure; the potential impact on human health, welfare, and safety and the environment; whether the discharge or release poses a substantial threat to the public health or welfare of the United States as discussed in § 300.322; the potential impact on natural resources and property which may be affected; priorities for protecting human health and welfare and the environment; and appropriate cost documentation.

(d) The OSC's/RPM's efforts shall be coordinated with other appropriate federal, state, local, and private response agencies. OSCs/RPMs may designate capable persons from federal, state, or local agencies to act as their on-scene representatives. State and local governments, however, are not authorized to take actions under subparts D and E of the NCP that involve expenditures of the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund or CERCLA funds unless an appropriate contract or cooperative agreement has been established. The basic framework for the response management structure is a system (e.g., a unified command system), that brings together the functions of the federal government, the state government, and the responsible party to achieve an effective and efficient response, where the OSC maintains authority.

(e) The OSC/RPM should consult regularly with the RRT and NSFCC, as appropriate, in carrying out the NCP and keep the RRT and NSFCC, as appropriate, informed of activities under the NCP.

(f) The OSC/RPM shall advise the support agency as promptly as possible of reported releases.

(g) The OSC/RPM should evaluate incoming information and immediately advise FEMA of potential major disaster situations.

(h) In those instances where a possible public health emergency exists, the OSC/RPM should notify the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) representative to the RRT. Throughout response actions, the OSC/RPM may call upon the HHS representative for assistance in determining public health threats and call upon the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and HHS for assistance on worker health and safety issues.

(i) All federal agencies should plan for emergencies and develop procedures for dealing with oil discharges and releases of hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants from vessels and facilities under their jurisdiction. All federal agencies, therefore, are responsible for designating the office that coordinates response to such incidents in accordance with the NCP and applicable federal regulations and guidelines.

(j)(1) The OSC/RPM shall ensure that the trustees for natural resources are promptly notified of discharges or releases.

(2) The OSC or RPM shall coordinate all response activities with the affected natural resource trustees and, for discharges of oil, the OSC shall consult with the affected trustees on the appropriate removal action to be taken.

(k) Where the OSC/RPM becomes aware that a discharge or release may affect any endangered or threatened species or their habitat, the OSC/RPM shall consult with the Department of Interior (DOI), or the Department of Commerce (DOC) (NOAA) and, if appropriate, the cognizant federal land managing agency.

(l) The OSC/RPM is responsible for addressing worker health and safety concerns at a response scene, in accordance with § 300.150.

(m) The OSC shall submit pollution reports to the RRT and other appropriate agencies as significant developments occur during response actions, through communications networks or procedures agreed to by the RRT and covered in the RCP.

(n) OSCs/RPMs should ensure that all appropriate public and private interests are kept informed and that their concerns are considered throughout a response, to the extent practicable, consistent with the requirements of § 300.155 of this part.