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Revised Oil Pollution Prevention Regulations

On July 1, 1994, EPA instituted revisions to the Oil Pollution Prevention regulation at 59 FR 34070, which incorporate the facility response planning requirements added by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. Under the revisions, an owner or operator of a substantial harm facility is required to prepare and submit to the federal government, facility plans for responding to a worst-case discharge of oil. Facilities that determine they do not need to prepare a plan are required to keep a certification form on site that attests that the facility does not pose the threat of substantial harm to the environment.

Under the regulation there are two methods by which a facility may be determined to be a substantial harm facility. The rule allows facility owners and operators to determine for themselves whether their facility poses substantial harm based on an evaluation of the facility's transfer operations, oil storage capacity, lack of secondary containment, proximity to environmentally sensitive areas, etc. The second method allows EPA Regional Administrators to determine whether a facility within the EPA Region is a substantial harm facility based on facility-specific characteristics. The EPA is required to approve only those plans that are submitted by facilities determined to be a significant and substantial harm facility. EPA makes this determination based on the substantial harm criteria, as well as other site-specific information, such as local impacts on public health.

The Oil Pollution Act also requires that Facility Response Plans describe training and periodic unannounced drills/exercises. To address these provisions, EPA requires the owners or operators of facilities that are required to prepare a Facility Response Plan to develop and implement a facility response training program and a drill/exercise program.

Summary of 1994 Regulatory Revisions to 40 CFR Part 112

EPA's Facility Response Plan requirements under 40 CFR Part 112 are organized around the following key provisions:

Section 112.2 Provides a definition of worst-case discharge, including the volume of a spill for which facility owners or operators should have equipment and resources to address.
Section 112.20 Addresses the development, content, and submission of Facility Response Plans.
Section 112.20(f) Provides criteria for determining whether facilities could cause substantial harm or significant and substantial harm to the environment in the event of a discharge of oil.
Section 112.21 Establishes EPA's requirements for developing and implementing a Facility Response Plan training program and a facility response drills/exercises program.
In addition, EPA provides the following five appendices to the regulation that further clarify the Facility Response Plan regulatory provisions:
Appendix A Memorandum of Understanding between the Secretary of Transportation and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency
Appendix B Memorandum of Understanding among the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Transportation, and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency
Appendix C Substantial Harm Criteria
Appendix D Determination of a Worst Case Discharge Planning Volume
Appendix E Determination and Evaluation of Required Response Resources for Facility Response Plan
Appendix F Facility Specific Response Plan

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