Contingency Plan for Oil and Hazardous Waste Spills

Oil and hazardous waste spills in the sanctuary may cause significant harm to the sanctuary's natural and cultural resources. In case of such an event, representatives from the sanctuary are empowered to work with the U.S. Coast Guard, which serves as the Federal On-Scene Coordinator (FOSC) for any incident response.

On-scene coordinators are responsible for organizing a response that utilizes the Incident Command System. Sanctuary staff are trained and familiar with their roles in this sort of emergency. In addition, NOAA's Office of Response and Restoration, Hazardous Materials Response Division (HAZMAT), Scientific Support Coordinators (SSCs) are available to provide assistance (HAZMAT SSCs are co-located in each USCG District). The SSC represents NOAA on the FOSC staff, is responsible for providing mission-critical scientific information to the response, and directs all NOAA personnel on scene. Sanctuary staff members are required to coordinate with the SSC when responding to any such incident.

The SSC is responsible for coordinating and articulating NOAA policy positions during a response, particularly with respect to the use of advanced response technologies such as dispersants, in-situ burning, and bioremediation. This does not preclude sanctuary representatives from speaking on issues of internal sanctuary policy.

For more information about sanctuary responsibilities in an oil or hazardous waste spill, click here for the sanctuary annex to the "Plymouth to Salisbury, Massachusetts Area Contingency Plan."


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