Oil pollution research and development program
The Interagency Committee shall coordinate the establishment, by the agencies represented on the Interagency Committee, of a program for conducting oil pollution research, technology, and development, as provided in this subsection.
Innovative oil pollution technology
The program established under paragraph (1) shall provide for research, development, and demonstration of new or improved technologies and methods that are effective in preventing, mitigating, or restoring damage from oil discharges and that protect the environment, including—
development of improved designs for vessels and facilities, and improved operational practices;
research, development, and demonstration of improved technologies to measure the ullage of a vessel tank, prevent discharges from tank vents, prevent discharges during lightering and bunkering operations, contain discharges on the deck of a vessel, prevent discharges through the use of vacuums in tanks, and otherwise contain discharges of oil from vessels and facilities;
research, development, and demonstration of new or improved systems of mechanical, chemical, biological, and other methods (including the use of dispersants, solvents, and bioremediation) for the recovery, removal, and disposal of oil, including evaluation of the environmental effects of the use of such systems;
research and training, in consultation with the National Response Team, to improve industry’s and Government’s ability to quickly and effectively remove an oil discharge, including the long-term use, as appropriate, of the National Spill Control School in Corpus Christi, Texas, and the Center for Marine Training and Safety in Galveston, Texas;
research to improve information systems for decisionmaking, including the use of data from coastal mapping, baseline data, and other data related to the environmental effects of oil discharges, and cleanup technologies;
development of technologies and methods to protect public health and safety from oil discharges, including the population directly exposed to an oil discharge;
development of technologies, methods, and standards for protecting removal personnel, including training, adequate supervision, protective equipment, maximum exposure limits, and decontamination procedures;
research and development of methods to restore and rehabilitate natural resources damaged by oil discharges;
research to evaluate the relative effectiveness and environmental impacts of bioremediation technologies; and
the demonstration of a satellite-based, dependent surveillance vessel traffic system in Narragansett Bay to evaluate the utility of such system in reducing the risk of oil discharges from vessel collisions and groundings in confined waters.
Oil pollution technology evaluation
The program established under paragraph (1) shall provide for oil pollution prevention and mitigation technology evaluation including—
the evaluation and testing of technologies developed independently of the research and development program established under paragraph (1);
the establishment, where appropriate, of standards and testing protocols traceable to national standards to measure the performance of oil pollution prevention or mitigation technologies; and
the use, where appropriate, of controlled field testing to evaluate real-world application of oil discharge prevention or mitigation technologies.
Oil pollution effects research
The Committee shall establish a research program to monitor and evaluate the environmental effects of acute and chronic oil discharges on coastal and marine resources (including impacts on protected areas such as sanctuaries) and protected species, and such program shall include the following elements:
The development of improved models and capabilities for predicting the environmental fate, transport, and effects of oil discharges.
The development of methods, including economic methods, to assess damages to natural resources resulting from oil discharges.
Research to understand and quantify the effects of sublethal impacts of oil discharge on living natural marine resources, including impacts on pelagic fish species, marine mammals, and commercially and recreationally targeted fish and shellfish species.
The identification of types of ecologically sensitive areas at particular risk to oil discharges and the preparation of scientific monitoring and evaluation plans, one for each of several types of ecological conditions, to be implemented in the event of major oil discharges in such areas.
The collection of environmental baseline data in ecologically sensitive areas at particular risk to oil discharges where such data are insufficient.
Research to understand the long-term effects of major oil discharges and the long-term effects of smaller endemic oil discharges.
The identification of potential impacts on ecosystems, habitat, and wildlife from the additional toxicity, heavy metal concentrations, and increased corrosiveness of mixed crude, such as diluted bitumen crude.
The development of methods to restore and rehabilitate natural resources and ecosystem functions damaged by oil discharges.
The Department of Commerce in consultation with the Environmental Protection Agency shall monitor and scientifically evaluate the long-term environmental effects of oil discharges if—
the amount of oil discharged exceeds 250,000 gallons;
the oil discharge has occurred on or after January 1, 1989; and
the Interagency Committee determines that a study of the long-term environmental effects of the discharge would be of significant scientific value, especially for preventing or responding to future oil discharges.
Areas for study may include the following sites where oil discharges have occurred: the New York/New Jersey Harbor area, where oil was discharged by an Exxon underwater pipeline, the T/B CIBRO SAVANNAH, and the M/V BT NAUTILUS; Narragansett Bay where oil was discharged by the WORLD PRODIGY; the Houston Ship Channel where oil was discharged by the RACHEL B; the Delaware River, where oil was discharged by the PRESIDENTE RIVERA and the T/V ATHOS I, and Huntington Beach, California, where oil was discharged by the AMERICAN TRADER.
Research conducted under this paragraph by, or through, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service shall be directed and coordinated by the National Wetland Research Center.
Marine simulation research
The program established under paragraph (1) shall include research on the greater use and application of geographic and vessel response simulation models, including the development of additional data bases and updating of existing data bases using, among others, the resources of the National Maritime Research Center. It shall include research and vessel simulations for—
contingency plan evaluation and amendment;
removal and strike team training;
tank vessel personnel training; and
those geographic areas where there is a significant likelihood of a major oil discharge.
The United States Coast Guard, in conjunction with such agencies as the President may designate, shall conduct 4 port oil pollution minimization demonstration projects, one each with (A) the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, (B) the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, (C) the Port of New Orleans, Louisiana, and (D) ports on the Great Lakes, for the purpose of developing and demonstrating integrated port oil pollution prevention and cleanup systems which utilize the information and implement the improved practices and technologies developed from the research, development, and demonstration program established in this section. Such systems shall utilize improved technologies and management practices for reducing the risk of oil discharges, including, as appropriate, improved data access, computerized tracking of oil shipments, improved vessel tracking and navigation systems, advanced technology to monitor pipeline and tank conditions, improved oil spill response capability, improved capability to predict the flow and effects of oil discharges in both the inner and outer harbor areas for the purposes of making infrastructure decisions, and such other activities necessary to achieve the purposes of this section.
Simulated environmental testing
Agencies represented on the Interagency Committee shall ensure the long-term use and operation of the Oil and Hazardous Materials Simulated Environmental Test Tank (OHMSETT) Research Center in New Jersey for oil pollution technology testing and evaluations.
Other testing facilities
Nothing in subparagraph (A) shall be construed as limiting the ability of the Interagency Committee to contract or partner with a facility or facilities other than the Center described in subparagraph (A) for the purpose of oil pollution technology testing and evaluations, provided such a facility or facilities have testing and evaluation capabilities equal to or greater than those of such Center.
The Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency may accept donations of crude oil and crude oil product samples in the form of in-kind contributions for use by the Federal Government for product testing, research and development, and for other purposes as the Secretary and the Administrator determine appropriate.
Use of donated oil
Oil accepted under clause (i) may be used directly by the Secretary and shall be provided to other Federal agencies or departments through interagency agreements to carry out the purposes of this Act.
Regional research program
Consistent with the research plan in subsection (d), the Interagency Committee shall coordinate a program of competitive grants to universities or other research institutions, or groups of universities or research institutions, for the purposes of conducting a coordinated research program related to the regional aspects of oil pollution, such as prevention, removal, mitigation, and the effects of discharged oil on regional environments. For the purposes of this paragraph, a region means a Coast Guard district as set out in part 3 of title 33, Code of Federal Regulations (2010).
The Interagency Committee shall coordinate the publication by the agencies represented on the Interagency Committee of a solicitation for grants under this subsection. The application shall be in such form and contain such information as may be required in the published solicitation. The applications shall be reviewed by the Interagency Committee, which shall make recommendations to the appropriate granting agency represented on the Interagency Committee for awarding the grant. The granting agency shall award the grants recommended by the Interagency Committee unless the agency decides not to award the grant due to budgetary or other compelling considerations and publishes its reasons for such a determination in the Federal Register. No grants may be made by any agency from any funds authorized for this paragraph unless such grant award has first been recommended by the Interagency Committee.
Any university or other research institution, or group of universities or research institutions, may apply for a grant for the regional research program established by this paragraph. The applicant must be located in the region, or in a State a part of which is in the region, for which the project is proposed as part of the regional research program. With respect to a group application, the entity or entities which will carry out the substantial portion of the proposed research must be located in the region, or in a State a part of which is in the region, for which the project is proposed as part of the regional research program.
The Interagency Committee shall make recommendations on grants in such a manner as to ensure an appropriate balance within a region among the various aspects of oil pollution research, including prevention, removal, mitigation, and the effects of discharged oil on regional environments. In addition, the Interagency Committee shall make recommendations for grants based on the following criteria:
There is available to the applicant for carrying out this paragraph demonstrated research resources.
The applicant demonstrates the capability of making a significant contribution to regional research needs.
The projects which the applicant proposes to carry out under the grant are consistent with the research plan under subsection (d) and would further the objectives of the research and development program established in this section.
Grants provided under this paragraph shall be for a period up to 3 years, subject to annual review by the granting agency, and provide not more than 80 percent of the costs of the research activities carried out in connection with the grant.
No funds made available to carry out this subsection may be used for the acquisition of real property (including buildings) or construction of any building.
Nothing in this paragraph is intended to alter or abridge the authority under existing law of any Federal agency to make grants, or enter into contracts or cooperative agreements, using funds other than those authorized in this Act for the purposes of carrying out this paragraph.
For each of the fiscal years 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, and 1995, $6,000,000 of amounts in the Fund shall be available to carry out the regional research program in paragraph (8), such amounts to be available in equal amounts for the regional research program in each region; except that if the agencies represented on the Interagency Committee determine that regional research needs exist which cannot be addressed within such funding limits, such agencies may use their authority under paragraph (10) to make additional grants to meet such needs. For the purposes of this paragraph, the research program carried out by the Prince William Sound Oil Spill Recovery Institute established under section 2731 of this title, shall not be eligible to receive grants under this paragraph until the authorization for funding under section 2736(b) of this title expires.
In carrying out the research and development program established under paragraph (1), the Under Secretary may enter into contracts and cooperative agreements and make grants to universities, research institutions, and other persons, and States and Indian tribes. Such contracts, cooperative agreements, and grants shall address research and technology priorities set forth in the oil pollution research plan under subsection (d).
Utilization of resources
In carrying out research under this section, the Department of Transportation shall continue to utilize the resources of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration of the Department of Transportation, to the maximum extent practicable.
Not to exceed $22,000,000 of amounts in the Fund shall be available annually to carry out this section except for subsection (e)(8). Of such sums—
funds authorized to be appropriated to carry out the activities under subsection (c)(4)
See References in Text note below.
shall not exceed $5,000,000 for fiscal year 1991 or $3,500,000 for any subsequent fiscal year; and
not less than $3,000,000 shall be available for carrying out the activities in subsection (c)(6) 1 for fiscal years 1992, 1993, 1994, and 1995.
All activities authorized in this section, including subsection (e)(8), are subject to appropriations.
[Pub. L. 101–380, title VII, § 7001], Aug. 18, 1990, [104 Stat. 559]; [Pub. L. 101–537, title II, § 2002], Nov. 8, 1990, [104 Stat. 2375]; [Pub. L. 101–646, title IV, § 4002], Nov. 29, 1990, [104 Stat. 4788]; [Pub. L. 104–324, title XI], §§ 1102(c)(2), 1108, Oct. 19, 1996, [110 Stat. 3966], 3968; [Pub. L. 104–332, § 2(h)(1)], (2), Oct. 26, 1996, [110 Stat. 4091]; [Pub. L. 108–426, § 2(c)(5)], Nov. 30, 2004, [118 Stat. 2424]; [Pub. L. 109–241, title VI, § 605(a)(1)], title IX, § 902(l)(3), (4), July 11, 2006, [120 Stat. 555], 568; [Pub. L. 114–120, title III, § 319], Feb. 8, 2016, [130 Stat. 66]; [Pub. L. 116–283, div. G, title LVXXXIII] [LXXXIII], § 8304, Jan. 1, 2021, [134 Stat. 4693].)