Environmental Response Policy

MSIB: FRP-ACP Relationships in Pacific Northwest Region – Changes to Area Contingency Planning Construct

The Office of Marine Environmental Response has published MSIB 22-20 to alert all facility response plan (FRP) holders with facilities operating within the United States Coast Guard (USCG) Sector Columbia River and Sector Puget Sound Captain of the Port (COTP) Zones of structural changes to the area contingency planning construct and physical location of applicable Area Contingency Plans (ACPs).

Over the past 20 years, Area Contingency Planning functions for all USCG COTP Zones covering Oregon and Washington have been managed at the Federal Region 10 level. This regional (versus more local) approach, resulted in the creation/maintenance of a large single plan known as the Northwest Area Contingency Plan (NWACP). The NWACP has served as multiple, federally mandated plans, including the Regional Contingency Plan, EPA inland zone ACP and two USCG coastal zone ACPs.

USCG Sector Columbia River and Sector Puget Sound are specifically designated as separate and unique COTP Zones. Each Sector Commander is delegated Federal On-Scene Coordinator (FOSC or OSC) authorities for their area of responsibility (33 CFR Part 3). Pursuant to the National Contingency Plan (NCP), the FOSCs are “responsible for overseeing the development of the ACP in the area of the OSC’s responsibility” [40 CFR § 300.120(e)]. Furthermore, “under direction of the [F]OSC,” Area Committees are responsiblefor developing ACPs for each designated area [40 CFR §§ 300.105(c)(4), 300.210(c)(1)].

To restore and facilitate area contingency planning and management activities at the local COTP/FOSC level (as discussed above and so directed by the NCP) and to align with the rest of the service, distinct coastal zone ACPs and associated area committees will now be maintained/managed by the pre-designated FOSCs at both Sector Columbia River and Sector Puget Sound. The coastal zone ACPs will no longer be managed as a subordinate component/function of the NWACP. However, the USCG will work with Regional Response Team 10 to ensure the new stand-alone coastal zone ACPs for both Sector Columbia River and Sector Puget Sound are appropriately aligned with the EPA inland ACP and the RCP for Region 10. Please keep in mind, while ACPs are federally mandated/managed plans, a State may set standards (independent of ACPs) for facilities and vessels operating in State waters, and that those standards may be more stringent than federal standards.

The current NWACP will no longer function as the USCG coastal ACP for Sector Columbia River and Sector Puget Sound. Names and locations of relevant ACPs (inland and coastal) are detailed below. The information contained in a FRP must maintain consistency with relevant ACPs pursuant to 33 CFR § 154.1030(f). Therefore it may be necessary to make minor changes to affected FRPs as part of the annual FRP review process in order to achieve consistency with the new ACPs. Such changes must be noted on the record of changes page in conjunction with the annual FRP review as required by 33 CFR § 154.1065.

For the Sector Columbia River coastal zone:https://homeport.uscg.mil/port-directory/columbia-river
For the Sector Puget Sound coastal zone:https://homeport.uscg.mil/port-directory/seattle-(puget-sound)
For the EPA inland zone, continue to use:https://rrt10nwac.com/NWACP/Default.aspx
Links to relevant Area Contingency Plans in Oregon and Washington

This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official publications, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These publications remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.