The Coast Guard, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Minerals Management Service, in concert with representatives from various State governments, industry, environmental interest groups, and the general public, developed the National Preparedness for Response Exercise Program (PREP) Guidelines to provide guidance for compliance with the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90) pollution response exercise requirements (33 U.S.C. 1321(j)). PREP provides for external “Area” exercises, which are designed to evaluate the entire pollution response mechanism in a given geographic area to ensure adequate response preparedness. Area exercises involve the entire response community including Federal, State, local, tribal, and non-government organizations, and industry participants; therefore, these area exercises require more extensive planning than other oil spill response exercises.
The agencies have announced the PREP triennial exercise cycle for 2007 through 2009, and are requesting industry participants to volunteer for scheduled PREP Area exercises. The PREP schedule for calendar years 2007, 2008, and 2009 for Government-led and Industry-led Area exercises and exercise design manuals are available on the Internet. If a company wants to volunteer for an Area exercise, a company representative may call either the Coast Guard or EPA on-scene coordinator where the exercise is scheduled.