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United States Environmental Protection Agency
Oil Program
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Oil Program DropOil Program

Welcome to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Oil Program. This website provides information about the U.S. EPA's program for preventing, preparing for, and responding to oil spills that occur in and around inland waters of the United States. The Oil Program is administered through EPA headquarters and the 10 EPA Regions.


Key Topics

NCP Product Schedule and Notebook
Laws & Regulations
Facility Response Plans (FRPs)
About SPCC
SPCC Guides and Survey
Freshwater Spills Symposia
Oil-Related Sites
Current Issues

New! Notices of Data Availability Published: EPA Seeking Comments

Just released: September 20, 2004 Federal Register Notices
Notice of Data Availability for Certain Facilities (PDF, 64K, 3 pages)
Notice of Data Availability for Oil-Filled and Process Equipment (PDF, 57K, 2 pages)

EPA is considering initiatives that would provide more focused regulation for facilities that handle oil below a certain threshold amount ("certain facilities") as well as facilities with oil-filled and process equipment under the Clean Water Act. As part of this effort, the Agency is making information available to the public for review and comment as part of its process of considering possible streamlined approaches that would ensure protection of human health and the environment from oil spills. The documents present ideas for new regulatory thresholds and definitions as well as describe streamlined alternatives that could potentially replace parts of existing regulations for certain facilities and for facilities with oil-filled and process equipment. EPA is interested in receiving comments that can assist the Agency in assessing the merit of these alternatives. EPA is specifically interested in receiving any evidence, including data and analyses, related to claims made within the documents. Please be aware that the Agency is only soliciting comments on the data provided.

Excerpts of the documents available for comment can be found at:
Certain Facilities: HTML format | PDF format (119K, 42 pages)
Oil-Filled and Process Equipment: HTML format | PDF format (74K, 28 pages)

This information can also be found in the EDOCKET index under Docket No. OPA-2004-0007 ("Notice of Data Availability for Certain Facilities") and Docket No. OPA-2004-0008 ("Notice of Data Availability for Oil-Filled and Process Equipment").

EPA Finalizes Extensions for Compliance with the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasures (SPCC) Rule

On June 17, 2004, EPA proposed to extend, by 12 months, certain upcoming compliance dates (PDF, 115K, 5 pages) for the July 17, 2002 SPCC amendments. EPA has now finalized an 18-month extension for the dates in 40 CFR 112.3(a) and (b) for a facility to amend and implement its SPCC Plan to comply with the requirements amended on July 17, 2002 (or, in the case of a facility becoming operational after August 16, 2002, prepare and implement a Plan in a manner that complies with the amended requirements). EPA has also amended the compliance deadlines in 40 CFR 112.3(c) for mobile facilities. EPA has granted the extension to, among other reasons, provide sufficient time for the regulated community to undertake the actions necessary to prepare and update their plans in light of a recent partial settlement of litigation involving the July 2002 amendments. The extension is also intended to alleviate the need for individual extension requests.

This extension follows a previous 18-month extension announced on April 17, 2003 (PDF, 96K, 5 pages), and extends deadlines for an additional 18 months from the dates promulgated at that time. The new compliance dates are February 17, 2006, to amend an existing SPCC Plan, and August 18, 2006, to implement the Plan. Affected facilities that start operations between August 16, 2002 and August 18, 2006, must prepare and implement an SPCC Plan by August 18, 2006. Affected facilities that become operational after August 18, 2006 must prepare and implement an SPCC Plan before starting operations. Follow this link to access the August 11, 2004 Federal Register notice (PDF, 76K, 6 pages) announcing the final rule that extends SPCC compliance dates. Follow this link for more information about the July 17, 2002 rule.

EPA Publishes Notice Clarifying Settlement Issues Pertaining to Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) Rule

On May 25, 2004, EPA published a notice in the Federal Register (PDF, 59K, 3 pages) that provides information about the partially settled litigation over the SPCC rule. The notice includes clarifications developed by the Agency during the course of the settlement proceedings. As mentioned in the notice, EPA's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER) issued a letter to the Petroleum Marketers Association of America (PMAA) (PDF, 35K, 4 pages) in response to PMAA's questions about the 40 CFR 112.7(a)(2)'s "equivalent environmental protection" provision and request for clarification of the scope of the requirements in 40 CFR 112.7(h) ("Facility tank car and tank truck loading/unloading rack (excluding offshore facilities)").

Freshwater Spills Symposium 2004 Agenda and Presentations

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Oil Program hosted the Fifth Biennial Freshwater Spills Symposium (FSS) in New Orleans, Louisiana on April 6-8, 2004. The FSS offered an opportunity for local, state, federal and industry responders; natural resource trustees and managers; facility response planners; and additional stakeholders to engage in an exchange targeted at the unique problems of freshwater oil spills. The agenda and presentations from the FSS 2004 are now available online.

Documents Available Related to the Bioremediation of Oil-Contaminated Sites

Literature Review on the Use of Commercial Bioremediation Agents for Cleanup of Oil-Contaminated Estuarine Environments (PDF, 369k, 61 pages): This document is a comprehensive review of the use of commercial bioremediation products in treating oil spills. The scope of this review is mainly estuarine environments, but it also pertains to marine shorelines, terrestrial environments, freshwaters, and wetlands. The review will be useful for oil spill responders (e.g., on-scene coordinators and response contractors) to better understand the feasibility of bioremediation technology and as an aid in selecting bioremediation products.

Guidelines for the Bioremediation of Oil-Contaminated Salt Marshes (PDF, 484k, 66 pages): This document contains detailed technical guidelines for using bioremediation technology for the cleanup of coastal wetlands contaminated with oil and oil products. A supplement to the previously published "Guidelines for the Bioremediation of Marine Shorelines and Freshwater Wetlands" (Zhu et al., 2001), this guidance document includes a thorough review and critique of the literature and theories pertinent to oil biodegradation and nutrient dynamics, and provides examples of bioremediation options and case studies of oil bioremediation in coastal wetland environments.

From the Marshes to Deepwater, Louisiana's Hydrocarbon Infrastructure is at Risk

Over the last 100 years, Louisiana has lost over 400,000 hectares to open water. Prior to 1940, the majority of Louisiana's oil and gas fields were in freshwater. Subsidence, the rise in sea level, and loss of land have contributed to all but one oil field now being located in open saltwater. All of these fields are vulnerable to oil spills, particularly those directly offshore. The landscape of Louisiana's shoreline is changing faster than the oil industry's contingency plans. Through the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, the Minerals Management Service (MSS) monitors the response capabilities of offshore operators. However, the complexity of the site, including the occurrence of extreme weather conditions, and lack of current response contingency plans puts the Gulf Coast potentially at risk for a major spill event. Response planning and understanding the marine and freshwater environments are essential for the protection of the Gulf Coast. For more information read the May 2004 EPA Oil Program Update (PDF, 459K, 8 pages). Spills recorded in the vicinity of the Mississippi Delta


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