EPA Proposes Strengthening Oil Spill Contingency Plan

Jan. 16, 2015
The proposal addresses issues raised during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to amend requirements under the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP) to improve the nation’s ability to plan for and respond to oil spills. This proposal addresses issues raised by the public, responders, government and industry officials during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. 

“Our emergency officials need the best available science and safety information to make informed spill response decisions when evaluating the use of specific products on oil discharges,” said Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. “Our proposed amendments incorporate scientific advances and lessons learned from the application of spill-mitigating substances in response to oil discharges and will help ensure that the emergency planners and responders are well-equipped to protect human health and the environment.”

The proposed Subpart J revisions include:

  • • New and revised product toxicity and efficacy test methodologies for dispersants, and other chemical and biological agents;
  • • New toxicity and efficacy criteria for listing agents on the Subpart J Product Schedule;
  • • Additional human health and safety information requirements from manufacturers;
  • • Revised area planning requirements for chemical and biological agent use authorization; and
  • • New dispersant monitoring requirements when used on certain oil discharges.

Dispersant manufactures will be able to use a new, well-tested and peer reviewed laboratory method for determining the effectiveness of their dispersant on two types of crude oils at two temperatures measured against proposed performance criteria. The agency is also proposing an aquatic toxicity threshold such that products that meet both the performance and toxicity criteria will offer greater performance at less environmental impact.

EPA is also proposing product chemical ingredient disclosure options and new evaluation criteria and a process for removing products from the Product Schedule.

The agency will accept public comments on the proposal for 90 days following publication in the Federal Register.

Source: EPA

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