CRS – Oil and Chemical Spills: Federal Emergency Response Framework. David M. Bearden, Specialist in Environmental Policy. Jonathan L. Ramseur, Specialist in Environmental Policy, January 13, 2014.
“Thousands of oil and chemical spills of varying size and magnitude occur in the United States each year. A recent spill of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol into the Elk River in early January 2014 in and near Charleston, WV, illustrates the potential magnitude of such incidents that can have broad impacts on local populations. When a spill occurs, state and local officials located in proximity to the incident generally are the first responders and may elevate an incident for federal attention if greater resources are desired. In the case of the 4-methylcyclohexane methanol spill in West Virginia, President Obama issued a federal emergency declaration on January 10, 2014, to provide alternative water supplies to affected individuals. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also is supporting state efforts to respond to the spill. The National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan—often referred to as the National Contingency Plan (NCP) for short—establishes the procedures for the federal response to oil and chemical spills…This report provides background information on the NCP to address potential questions that may arise in congressional oversight of the federal response to particular incidents.”