U.S. Code of Federal Regulations

Regulations most recently checked for updates: Jun 03, 2023

§ 300.175 - Federal agencies: additional responsibilities and assistance.

(a) During preparedness planning or in an actual response, various federal agencies may be called upon to provide assistance in their respective areas of expertise, as indicated in paragraph (b) of this section, consistent with agency legal authorities and capabilities.

(b) The federal agencies include:

(1) USCG, as provided in 14 U.S.C. 1–3, is an agency in DOT, except when operating as an agency in the United States Navy (USN) in time of war. The USCG provides the NRT vice chair, co-chairs for the standing RRTs, and predesignated OSCs for the coastal zone, as described in § 300.120(a)(1). The USCG maintains continuously manned facilities which can be used for command, control, and surveillance of oil discharges and hazardous substance releases occurring in the coastal zone. The USCG also offers expertise in domestic and international fields of port safety and security, maritime law enforcement, ship navigation and construction, and the manning, operation, and safety of vessels and marine facilities. The USCG may enter into a contract or cooperative agreement with the appropriate state in order to implement a response action.

(2) EPA chairs the NRT and co-chairs, with the USCG, the standing RRTs; provides predesignated OSCs for all inland areas for which an ACP is required under CWA section 311(j) and for discharges and releases occurring in the inland zone and RPMs for remedial actions except as otherwise provided; and generally provides the SSC for responses in the inland zone. EPA provides expertise on human health and ecological effects of oil discharges or releases of hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants; ecological and human health risk assessment methods; and environmental pollution control techniques. Access to EPA's scientific expertise can be facilitated through the EPA representative to the Research and Development Committee of the National Response Team; the EPA Office of Research and Development's Superfund Technical Liaisons or Regional Scientists located in EPA Regional offices; or through EPA's Office of Science Planning and Regulatory Evaluation. EPA also provides legal expertise on the interpretation of CERCLA and other environmental statutes. EPA may enter into a contract or cooperative agreement with the appropriate state in order to implement a response action.

(3) FEMA provides guidance, policy and program advice, and technical assistance in hazardous materials, chemical, and radiological emergency preparedness activities (including planning, training, and exercising). FEMA's primary point of contact for administering financial and technical assistance to state and local governments to support their efforts to develop and maintain an effective emergency management and response capability is the Preparedness, Training, and Exercises Directorate.

(4) DOD has responsibility to take all action necessary with respect to releases where either the release is on, or the sole source of the release is from, any facility or vessel under the jurisdiction, custody, or control of DOD. In addition to those capabilities provided by SUPSALV, DOD may also, consistent with its operational requirements and upon request of the OSC, provide locally deployed USN oil spill equipment and provide assistance to other federal agencies on request. The following two branches of DOD have particularly relevant expertise:

(i) The United States Army Corps of Engineers has specialized equipment and personnel for maintaining navigation channels, for removing navigation obstructions, for accomplishing structural repairs, and for performing maintenance to hydropower electric generating equipment. The Corps can also provide design services, perform construction, and provide contract writing and contract administrative services for other federal agencies.

(ii) The U.S. Navy Supervisor of Salvage (SUPSALV) is the branch of service within DOD most knowledgeable and experienced in ship salvage, shipboard damage control, and diving. The USN has an extensive array of specialized equipment and personnel available for use in these areas as well as specialized containment, collection, and removal equipment specifically designed for salvage-related and open-sea pollution incidents.

(5) DOE generally provides designated OSCs/RPMs that are responsible for taking all response actions with respect to releases where either the release is on, or the sole source of the release is from, any facility or vessel under its jurisdiction, custody, or control, including vessels bareboat-chartered and operated. In addition, under the FRERP, DOE provides advice and assistance to other OSCs/RPMs for emergency actions essential for the control of immediate radiological hazards. Incidents that qualify for DOE radiological advice and assistance are those believed to involve source, by-product, or special nuclear material or other ionizing radiation sources, including radium, and other naturally occurring radionuclides, as well as particle accelerators. Assistance is available through direct contact with the appropriate DOE Radiological Assistance Program Regional Office.

(6) The Department of Agriculture (USDA) has scientific and technical capability to measure, evaluate, and monitor, either on the ground or by use of aircraft, situations where natural resources including soil, water, wildlife, and vegetation have been impacted by fire, insects and diseases, floods, hazardous substances, and other natural or man-caused emergencies. The USDA may be contacted through Forest Service emergency staff officers who are the designated members of the RRT. Agencies within USDA have relevant capabilities and expertise as follows:

(i) The Forest Service has responsibility for protection and management of national forests and national grasslands. The Forest Service has personnel, laboratory, and field capability to measure, evaluate, monitor, and control as needed, releases of pesticides and other hazardous substances on lands under its jurisdiction.

(ii) The Agriculture Research Service (ARS) administers an applied and developmental research program in animal and plant protection and production; the use and improvement of soil, water, and air; the processing, storage, and distribution of farm products; and human nutrition. The ARS has the capabilities to provide regulation of, and evaluation and training for, employees exposed to biological, chemical, radiological, and industrial hazards. In emergency situations, the ARS can identify, control, and abate pollution in the areas of air, soil, wastes, pesticides, radiation, and toxic substances for ARS facilities.

(iii) The Soil Conservation Service (SCS) has personnel in nearly every county in the nation who are knowledgeable in soil, agronomy, engineering, and biology. These personnel can help to predict the effects of pollutants on soil and their movements over and through soils. Technical specialists can assist in identifying potential hazardous waste sites and provide review and advice on plans for remedial measures.

(iv) The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) can respond in an emergency to regulate movement of diseased or infected organisms to prevent the spread and contamination of nonaffected areas.

(v) The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has responsibility to prevent meat and poultry products contaminated with harmful substances from entering human food channels. In emergencies, the FSIS works with other federal and state agencies to establish acceptability for slaughter of exposed or potentially exposed animals and their products. In addition they are charged with managing the Federal Radiological Emergency Response Program for the USDA.

(7) DOC, through NOAA, provides scientific support for response and contingency planning in coastal and marine areas, including assessments of the hazards that may be involved, predictions of movement and dispersion of oil and hazardous substances through trajectory modeling, and information on the sensitivity of coastal environments to oil and hazardous substances and associated clean-up and mitigation methods; provides expertise on living marine resources and their habitats, including endangered species, marine mammals and National Marine Sanctuary ecosystems; provides information on actual and predicted meteorological, hydrological, ice, and oceanographic conditions for marine, coastal, and inland waters, and tide and circulation data for coastal and territorial waters and for the Great Lakes.

(8) HHS assists with the assessment, preservation, and protection of human health and helps ensure the availability of essential human services. HHS provides technical and nontechnical assistance in the form of advice, guidance, and resources to other federal agencies as well as state and local governments.

(i) The principal HHS response comes from the U.S. Public Health Service and is coordinated from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, and various Public Health Service regional offices. Within the Public Health Service, the primary response to a hazardous materials emergency comes from Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Both ATSDR and CDC have a 24-hour emergency response capability wherein scientific and technical personnel are available to provide technical assistance to the lead federal agency and state and local response agencies on human health threat assessment and analysis, and exposure prevention and mitigation. Such assistance is used for situations requiring evacuation of affected areas, human exposure to hazardous materials, and technical advice on mitigation and prevention. CDC takes the lead during petroleum releases regulated under the CWA and OPA while ATSDR takes the lead during chemical releases under CERCLA. Both agencies are mutually supportive.

(ii) Other Public Health Service agencies involved in support during hazardous materials incidents either directly or through ATSDR/CDC include the Food and Drug Administration, the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Indian Health Service, and the National Institutes of Health.

(iii) Statutory authority for HHS/National Institutes for Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) involvement in hazardous materials accident prevention is non-regulatory in nature and focused on two primary areas for preventing community and worker exposure to hazardous materials releases: Worker safety training and basic research activities. Under section 126 of SARA, NIEHS is given statutory authority for supporting development of curricula and model training programs for waste workers and chemical emergency responders.

Under section 118(b) of the Hazardous Materials Transportation and Uniform Safety Act (HMTUSA) (49 U.S.C. 1802 et seq.), NIEHS also administers the Hazmat Employee Training Program to prepare curricula and training for hazardous materials transportation workers. In the basic research arena, NIEHS is authorized under section 311 of SARA to conduct a hazardous substance basic research and training program to evaluate toxic effects and assess human health risks from accidental releases of hazardous materials. Under Title IX, section 901(h) of the Clean Air Act Amendments, NIEHS also is authorized to conduct basic research on air pollutants, as well as train physicians in environmental health. Federal research and training in hazardous materials release prevention represents an important non-regulatory activity and supplements ongoing private sector programs.

(9) DOI may be contacted through Regional Environmental Officers (REOs), who are the designated members of RRTs. Department land managers have jurisdiction over the national park system, national wildlife refuges and fish hatcheries, the public lands, and certain water projects in western states. In addition, bureaus and offices have relevant expertise as follows:

(i) United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and other Bureaus: Anadromous and certain other fishes and wildlife, including endangered and threatened species, migratory birds, and certain marine mammals; waters and wetlands; and effects on natural resources.

(ii) The National Biological Survey performs research in support of biological resource management; inventories, monitors, and reports on the status and trends in the Nation's biotic resources; and transfers the information gained in research and monitoring to resource managers and others concerned with the care, use, and conservation of the Nation's natural resources. The National Biological Survey has laboratory/research facilities.

(iii) Geological Survey: Geology, hydrology (ground water and surface water), and natural hazards.

(iv) Bureau of Land Management: Minerals, soils, vegetation, wildlife, habitat, archaeology, and wilderness; and hazardous materials.

(v) Minerals Management Service: Oversight of offshore oil and gas exploration and production facilities and associated pipelines and pipeline facilities under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and the CWA; oil spill response technology research; and establishing oil discharge contingency planning requirements for offshore facilities.

(vi) Bureau of Mines: Analysis and identification of inorganic hazardous substances and technical expertise in metals and metallurgy relevant to site cleanup.

(vii) Office of Surface Mining: Coal mine wastes and land reclamation.

(viii) National Park Service: General biological, natural, and cultural resource managers to evaluate, measure, monitor, and contain threats to park system lands and resources; archaeological and historical expertise in protection, preservation, evaluation, impact mitigation, and restoration of cultural resources; emergency personnel.

(ix) Bureau of Reclamation: Operation and maintenance of water projects in the West; engineering and hydrology; and reservoirs.

(x) Bureau of Indian Affairs: Coordination of activities affecting Indian lands; assistance in identifying Indian tribal government officials.

(xi) Office of Territorial Affairs: Assistance in implementing the NCP in American Samoa, Guam, the Pacific Island Governments, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands.

(10) The Department of Justice (DOJ) can provide expert advice on complicated legal questions arising from discharges or releases, and federal agency responses. In addition, the DOJ represents the federal government, including its agencies, in litigation relating to such discharges or releases. Other legal issues or questions shall be directed to the federal agency counsel for the agency providing the OSC/RPM for the response.

(11) The Department of Labor (DOL), through OSHA and the states operating plans approved under section 18 of the OSH Act, has authority to conduct safety and health inspections of hazardous waste sites to assure that employees are being protected and to determine if the site is in compliance with:

(i) Safety and health standards and regulations promulgated by OSHA (or the states) in accordance with section 126 of SARA and all other applicable standards; and

(ii) Regulations promulgated under the OSH Act and its general duty clause. OSHA inspections may be self-generated, consistent with its program operations and objectives, or may be conducted in response to requests from EPA or another lead agency, or in response to accidents or employee complaints. OSHA may also conduct inspections at hazardous waste sites in those states with approved plans that choose not to exercise their jurisdiction to inspect such sites. On request, OSHA will provide advice and consultation to EPA and other NRT/RRT agencies as well as to the OSC/RPM regarding hazards to persons engaged in response activities. OSHA may also take any other action necessary to assure that employees are properly protected at such response activities. Any questions about occupational safety and health at these sites may be referred to the OSHA Regional Office.

(12) DOT provides response expertise pertaining to transportation of oil or hazardous substances by all modes of transportation. Through the Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA), DOT offers expertise in the requirements for packaging, handling, and transporting regulated hazardous materials. DOT, through RSPA, establishes oil discharge contingency planning requirements for pipelines, transport by rail and containers or bulk transport of oil.

(13) The Department of State (DOS) will lead in the development of international joint contingency plans. It will also help to coordinate an international response when discharges or releases cross international boundaries or involve foreign flag vessels. Additionally, DOS will coordinate requests for assistance from foreign governments and U.S. proposals for conducting research at incidents that occur in waters of other countries.

(14) The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will respond, as appropriate, to releases of radioactive materials by its licensees, in accordance with the NRC Incident Response Plan (NUREG–0728) to monitor the actions of those licensees and assure that the public health and environment are protected and adequate recovery operations are instituted. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will keep EPA informed of any significant actual or potential releases in accordance with procedural agreements. In addition, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will provide advice to the OSC/RPM when assistance is required in identifying the source and character of other hazardous substance releases where the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has licensing authority for activities utilizing radioactive materials.

(15) The General Services Administration (GSA) provides logistic and telecommunications support to federal agencies. During an emergency situation, GSA quickly responds to aid state and local governments as directed by other federal agencies. The type of support provided might include leasing and furnishing office space, setting up telecommunications and transportation services, and advisory assistance.