U.S. Code of Federal Regulations

Regulations most recently checked for updates: May 28, 2023

§ 300.615 - Responsibilities of trustees.

(a) Where there are multiple trustees, because of coexisting or contiguous natural resources or concurrent jurisdictions, they should coordinate and cooperate in carrying out these responsibilities.

(b) Trustees are responsible for designating to the RRTs and the Area Committees, for inclusion in the RCP and the ACP, appropriate contacts to receive notifications from the OSCs/RPMs of discharges or releases.

(c)(1) Upon notification or discovery of injury to, destruction of, loss of, or threat to natural resources, trustees may, pursuant to section 107(f) of CERCLA, or section 311(f)(5) of the CWA, take the following or other actions as appropriate:

(i) Conduct a preliminary survey of the area affected by the discharge or release to determine if trust resources under their jurisdiction are, or potentially may be, affected;

(ii) Cooperate with the OSC/RPM in coordinating assessments, investigations, and planning;

(iii) Carry out damage assessments; or

(iv) Devise and carry out a plan for restoration, rehabilitation, replacement, or acquisition of equivalent natural resources. In assessing damages to natural resources, the federal, state, and Indian tribe trustees have the option of following the procedures for natural resource damage assessments located at 43 CFR part 11.

(2) Upon notification or discovery of injury to, destruction of, loss of, or loss of use of, natural resources, or the potential for such, resulting from a discharge of oil occurring after August 18, 1990, the trustees, pursuant to section 1006 of the OPA, are to take the following actions:

(i) In accordance with OPA section 1006(c), determine the need for assessment of natural resource damages, collect data necessary for a potential damage assessment, and, where appropriate, assess damages to natural resources under their trusteeship; and

(ii) As appropriate, and subject to the public participation requirements of OPA section 1006(c), develop and implement a plan for the restoration, rehabilitation, replacement, or acquisition of the equivalent, of the natural resources under their trusteeship;

(3)(i) The trustees, consistent with procedures specified in the Fish and Wildlife and Sensitive Environments Plan Annex to the Area Contingency Plan, shall provide timely advice on recommended actions concerning trustee resources that are potentially affected by a discharge of oil. This may include providing assistance to the OSC in identifying/recommending pre-approved response techniques and in predesignating shoreline types and areas in ACPs.

(ii) The trustees shall assure, through the lead administrative trustee, that the OSC is informed of their activities regarding natural resource damage assessment that may affect response operations in order to assure coordination and minimize any interference with such operations. The trustees shall assure, through the lead administrative trustee, that all data from the natural resource damage assessment activities that may support more effective operational decisions are provided in a timely manner to the OSC.

(iii) When circumstances permit, the OSC shall share the use of federal response resources (including but not limited to aircraft, vessels, and booms to contain and remove discharged oil) with the trustees, providing trustee activities do not interfere with response actions. The lead administrative trustee facilitates effective and efficient communication between the OSC and the other trustees during response operations and is responsible for applying to the OSC for non-monetary federal response resources on behalf of all trustees. The lead administrative trustee is also responsible for applying to the NPFC for funding for initiation of damage assessment for injuries to natural resources.

(d) The authority of federal trustees includes, but is not limited to the following actions:

(1) Requesting that the Attorney General seek compensation from the responsible parties for the damages assessed and for the costs of an assessment and of restoration planning; and

(2) Participating in negotiations between the United States and potentially responsible parties to obtain PRP-financed or PRP-conducted assessments and restorations for injured resources or protection for threatened resources and to agree to covenants not to sue, where appropriate.

(3) Requiring, in consultation with the lead agency, any person to comply with the requirements of CERCLA section 104(e) regarding information gathering and access.

(4) Initiating damage assessments, as provided in OPA section 6002.

(e) Actions which may be taken by any trustee pursuant to section 107(f) of CERCLA, section 311(f)(5) of the CWA, or section 1006 of the OPA include, but are not limited to, any of the following:

(1) Requesting that an authorized agency issue an administrative order or pursue injunctive relief against the parties responsible for the discharge or release; or

(2) Requesting that the lead agency remove, or arrange for the removal of, or provide for remedial action with respect to, any oil or hazardous substances from a contaminated medium pursuant to section 104 of CERCLA or section 311 of CWA.