The Coast Guard, the Research and Special Programs 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 Preparedness for Response Exercise Program (PREP) Guidelines for oil spill response exercises.
The guiding principles for PREP distinguish between internal and external exercises. Internal exercises are conducted within the plan holder’s organization. External exercises extend beyond the plan holder’s organization to involve other members of the response community. External exercises are separated into two categories: (1) Area exercises, and (2) Government-initiated unannounced exercises. These exercises are designed to evaluate the entire pollution response mechanism in a given geographic area to ensure adequate response preparedness.
A National Schedule Coordination Committee (NSCC) was established for scheduling these Area exercises. The NSCC is comprised of personnel representing the four Federal regulating agencies-the USCG, U.S. EPA, MMS, and RSPA’s Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS). Since 1994, the NSCC has published a triennial schedule of Area exercises. In short, the Area exercises involve the entire response community (Federal, State, local, and industry participants) and therefore, require more extensive planning than other oil spill response exercises. The PREP Guidelines describe all of these exercises in more detail.
This notice announces the next triennial schedule of Area exercises. The PREP schedule for calendar years 2005, 2006, and 2007 for Government-Led and Industry-Led Area exercises is available on the Internet at http://www.uscg.mil/hq/nsfweb/nsfcc/prep/PREP-Ex-Schedule-05-07.pdf. If a company wants to volunteer for an Area exercise, a company representative may call either the Coast Guard or EPA On-Scene Coordinator (OSC) where the exercise is scheduled.