The Handbook, was developed by EPA’s Area Planning Workgroup and incorporates the accumulated knowledge of years of contingency planning experience. Although ACPs are specifically mandated by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, EPA’s responsibilities under other laws, including the Comprehensive Emergency Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), makes area planning, an all-hazards approach to contingency planning. The processes of planning for responses to all types of environmental emergencies (e.g., oil spills, hazardous materials releases, natural disasters) share common elements that have been successful in major responses. While it is primarily intended for use by EPA emergency response program personnel, area contingency planning is an inter-agency process, and the use of this Handbook to inform other agencies of EPA’s planning process is encouraged.
Some of the Handbook’s objectives includes:
Providing the national guidance for the program’s environmental emergencies;
Supports the development of consistency between area plans and benefits all aspects of the oil program.
Identifies methods for improving integration between ACPs and the National Response Framework, Regional Contingency Plans and state and local plans; state, tribal governments and local agencies, non-governmental organizations and the private sector;
Identifies and promotes the use of best practices for interagency planning activities - particularly regarding the use of information technology, plan formats and content and interagency coordination, among others.
The Handbook is being updated with regard to the use of information technology and technical resources, as these areas are always evolving. The appendices provide many of these resources. We have incorporated suggested edits on earlier comments received from OEM’s offices such as RID, RMD and PROD. It has also been sent to all 10 Regional area planners for comments. At this time, the updated draft is being reviewed by OGC.
Other updates include:
a. Reference Area Committee membership, activities and invited participants;
b. Tribal guidance and area planning inclusion;
c. Software platforms (e.g.: GeoPlatform);
d. New ER equipment, including RERT’s and CMAT’s;
e. Response Strategy Development appendix with Bakken crude/shale oil resources;
f. Research and update broken links of all Appendices (initially targeted); and
g. Incorporating the Gold King Mine AAR Implementation report and downstream notification memo;