Proceedings Of The Marine

SPR 2015

Proceedings magazine is a communication tool for the Coast Guard's Marine Safety & Security Council. Each quarterly magazine focuses on a specific theme of interest to the marine industry.

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11 Spring 2015 Proceedings www.uscg.mil/proceedings History and Evolution Torrey Canyon, Cuyahoga River Fire The massive oil discharge from the Torrey Canyon in U.K. waters, in March 1967, prompted questions on prepared- ness for such a response in the U.S., resulting in the National Multi-Agency Oil and Hazardous Materials Pollution Contingency Plan, a predecessor of the National Contingency Plan. 1 With public sentiment galvanized by the growing environmental movement and events, such as the Cuyahoga River Fire of 1969 (started by a spark falling on oil-slicked debris), 2 Congress passed the Water Quality Improvement Act of 1970. This expanded the 1948 Federal Water Pollu- tion Control Act and called for estab- lishing a strike force to provide neces- sary services. 3 The executive order that assigned responsibilities also provided clear authority for the Environmental Protec- tion Agency and the Coast Guard to form necessary teams under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, and so Coast Guard leadership created the National Strike Force in 1973. 4 Love Canal/Valley of the Drums Due to public and political attention regarding unmitigated toxic waste sites such as Love Canal in Niagara Falls, New York, and the Valley of the Drums near Louisville, Kentucky, Congress passed the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), colloquially known as "Superfund," which broadened the set of hazardous substances for reporting and removal, established private liability for removal and remediation, and provided for federal removal authority for all afected environments, not just navigable waters. CERCLA also authorized expenditure of Superfund resources for overhead and equipment for federal strike teams. 5 Exxon Valdez In 1989 the Exxon Valdez discharged an estimated 11 million gallons of oil in Alaska's Prince William Sound, trig- gering the next major National Oil and Hazardous Substance Pollution Contingency Plan evolution, including developing industry response capa- bility. The NSF shifted from Atlantic and Pacifc Area strike teams to a footprint of three: Pacifc (Novato, California); Gulf (Mobile, Alabama); and Atlantic (Fort Dix, New Jersey). Coast Guard leaders also created the National Strike Force Coordination Center in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, to administer the strike teams and maintain national equipment inventory. 6 must by law report these to the NRC. Then the National Response Center, which han- dles approximately 30,000 spill notifcations per year, 3 notifes the FOSC, who then contacts national resource trustees and other key response partners and provides an incident as- sessment. For many notifications, the FO SC 's i n it ia l a s s e s sment determines that the frst lines of response (i ncludi ng t he company responsible for the spill and local fre, police, and emergency management orga- nizations) are working effec- tively, and on-scene federal involvement is not required. If federal assistance is required, the FOSC initiates or joins a The National Response System Activation, Assessment, and Response. continued on page 12 The National Oil and Hazardous Substance Contingency Plan, 40 CFR 300.105.

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