The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) enforces regulations for vessel response plans and marine transportation-related facility response plans for oil. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enforces similar regulations for response plans for non-transportation-related facilities. Proposed USCG rules would require response plans for hazardous substances designated under the authority of the Clean Water Act (CWA). Other USCG regulations implement provisions of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, known as MARPOL 73/78. Annex I of MARPOL 73/78 addresses petroleum pollution, while Annex II identifies and addresses Noxious Liquid Substances (NLSs). The Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2004 gives the USCG authority to require response plans for NLSs under the CWA. There is some overlap, however, in the substances that are listed as NLSs and those that are categorized as oils or designated as CWA hazardous substances. Adding NLSs to the list of substances requiring a response plan has several implications for spill prevention, preparedness, and response programs. Some facilities currently have response plans for oils and may have response plans for CWA hazardous substances in the future. Some NLSs may be hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and response plans for those NLSs must be consistent with spill notification and response requirements under CERCLA. EPA and USCG On-Scene Coordinators must consider these overlapping listings when deciding on the appropriate removal actions for discharges. Facility owners and operators will need to consider their existing response plans when preparing response plans for NLSs. Under the CWA all response plans must be consistent with the National Contingency Plan and Area Contingency Plans.

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Author notes

1 Any opinions, findings, and recommendations expressed in this paper are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the United States Government or of the Environmental Protection Agency.