The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) announced that the updated draft PREP Guidelines are available for public comment. In simple terms, the PREP guidelines lay out exercise and training requirements for companies that have oil spill response plans required by OPA-90 (including those required by PHMSA in 49 CFR 194). Below is a summary of the changes made to the revised update of the PREP Guidelines.
Definitions and Terminology: The NSCC has changed certain exercise-related terms in order to harmonize PREP with other national-level exercise programs. In particular, the term “Spill Management Team (SMT)” has been replaced by the term “Incident Management Team (IMT).” The term “Tabletop Exercise (TTX)” has been removed from the PREP terminology and will now simply be referred to as an exercise. For example, an SMT TTX will now be called an IMT exercise.
Salvage and Marine Firefighting (SMFF) Additions: The draft PREP Guidelines now include guidance for including SMFF providers and equipment into a plan holder’s exercise program, in response to regulatory requirements at 33 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 155.4052. These updates appear throughout the Guidelines in applicable sections.
NTV Additions: The PREP Guidelines now include guidance for exercises for NTV response plans, in response to regulatory requirements at 33 CFR 155.5060.
Use of Alternative Worst Case Discharges (WCD) Scenarios during IMT Exercises: The draft Guidelines have been revised to allow for alternative WCD scenarios to be exercised. Some Facilities and Complex Facilities have more than one possible WCD, for example a storage tank and a pipeline section. Such plan holders are encouraged to consider adverse environmental impacts and to exercise more than just their largest volume WCD scenario.
Exercise Frequency: The draft Guidelines have been updated to ensure consistency among NSCC agencies regarding the frequency of equipment deployment exercises. In particular, the frequency of deployment exercises for equipment that is owned by the facility, operated by Oil Spill Removal Organizations (OSROs), and listed in EPA-regulated plans has been changed from annually to semi-annually. This change will ensure the readiness of equipment that is not regularly used in actual spill response operations.
Oil Spill Surveillance and Tracking Systems: USCG and BSEE regulations require plan holders to ensure available resources for oil spill surveillance and tracking. The PREP Guidelines establish a list of the types of equipment to be exercised during internal deployment exercises. This latest version of the Guidelines specifically identifies oil spill surveillance and tracking systems as a type of response equipment to be exercised during internal equipment deployment exercises in order to test the plan holders abilities to effectively support and direct other response activities and equipment, such as the use of dispersants, in-situ burning, mechanical recovery, shoreline protection, or wildlife recovery.
Area-level Exercise Cycle: The exercise frequency for Area-level exercises has been changed from three to four years. This change applies only to the Area-level exercise cycle and does not change an industry plan holder’s exercise cycle as recommended in the draft PREP Guidelines, nor does it change the frequency of any industry plan holder exercises required by any oil spill planning regulations.
Although this document responds to comments received in the BSEE docket BSEE-2014-0003, all further comments should be directed to the docket USCG-2011-1178. Comments must reach USCG by April 28, 2015. You may submit comments and additional materials to docket number USCG-2011-1178.
For a copy of the latest proposed PREP guidelines, contact Jessica Foley.