California has initiated a new approach to create an objective standard and regulate best achievable protection (BAP) for sensitive shoreline protection from vessel spills. The Oil Pollution Act (OPA 90) and California's Lempert-Keene-Seastrand Oil Spill Prevention and Response Act (SB 2040) mandate BAP as the standard for preparedness and response. BAP poses the critical response planning questions: “How much response resources should industry provide?” and “In what timeframes should those resources be deployed?” Prior California regulations intended to achieve BAP by relying on vessels to identify hazards, trajectories, environmental consequences, and response resource plans, produced less than optimal results in many instances. Though effective in theory, this approach resulted in fuzzy consequences and vague arrangements for adequate response. Because it was neither clear what sites would be protected (and what response resources would be required) nor at what time, and because it was consequentially not clear what response resources would be engaged to execute protection, drilling C-plans became obtuse. This in turn fostered “paper tiger” OSROs and resulted in an uneven playing field for business competitors. In Californias new approach, OSPR used many of the original concepts to identify BAP by using the NOAA GNOME oil spill model for generic vessel risk threats for California ports and along the California coast. This paper explains the theory, steps, and details. As a result of this process, BAP has been defined in terms of specific site deployments at specific time intervals and presented in tables in regulation. This new approach provides a number of benefits and solutions to the difficult issues in the former approach, including a standard for BAP.

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