U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
Regulations most recently checked for updates: Jun 09, 2023
(a) The President is required to designate in the NCP those federal officials who are to act on behalf of the public as trustees for natural resources. Federal officials so designated will act pursuant to section 107(f) of CERCLA, section 311(f)(5) of the CWA, and section 1006 of the OPA. Natural resources means land, fish, wildlife, biota, air, water, ground water, drinking water supplies, and other such resources belonging to, managed by, held in trust by, appertaining to, or otherwise controlled (hereinafter referred to as “managed or controlled”) by the United States (including the resources of the exclusive economic zone).
(b) The following individuals shall be the designated trustee(s) for general categories of natural resources, including their supporting ecosystems. They are authorized to act pursuant to section 107(f) of CERCLA, section 311(f)(5) of the CWA, or section 1006 of the OPA when there is injury to, destruction of, loss of, or threat to natural resources, including their supporting ecosystems, as a result of a release of a hazardous substance or a discharge of oil. Notwithstanding the other designations in this section, the Secretaries of Commerce and the Interior shall act as trustees of those resources subject to their respective management or control.
(1) Secretary of Commerce. The Secretary of Commerce shall act as trustee for natural resources managed or controlled by DOC and for natural resources managed or controlled by other federal agencies and that are found in, under, or using waters navigable by deep draft vessels, tidally influenced waters, or waters of the contiguous zone, the exclusive economic zone, and the outer continental shelf. However, before the Secretary takes an action with respect to an affected resource under the management or control of another federal agency, he shall, whenever practicable, seek to obtain the concurrence of that other federal agency. Examples of the Secretary's trusteeship include the following natural resources and their supporting ecosystems: marine fishery resources; anadromous fish; endangered species and marine mammals; and the resources of National Marine Sanctuaries and National Estuarine Research Reserves.
(2) Secretary of the Interior. The Secretary of the Interior shall act as trustee for natural resources managed or controlled by the DOI. Examples of the Secretary's trusteeship include the following natural resources and their supporting ecosystems: migratory birds; anadromous fish; endangered species and marine mammals; federally owned minerals; and certain federally managed water resources. The Secretary of the Interior shall also be trustee for those natural resources for which an Indian tribe would otherwise act as trustee in those cases where the United States acts on behalf of the Indian tribe.
(3) Secretary for the land managing agency. For natural resources located on, over, or under land administered by the United States, the trustee shall be the head of the department in which the land managing agency is found. The trustees for the principal federal land managing agencies are the Secretaries of DOI, USDA, DOD, and DOE.
(4) Head of authorized agencies. For natural resources located in the United States but not otherwise described in this section, the trustee shall be the head of the federal agency or agencies authorized to manage or control those resources.
(5) Additional trustees for the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. The Administrator of EPA and the Secretary of Agriculture shall act as trustees in connection with injury to, destruction of, loss of, or loss of use of natural resources, including their supporting ecosystems, resulting from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.