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Title 15

Displaying title 15, up to date as of 9/16/2021. Title 15 was last amended 9/15/2021.

Title 15

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§ 990.30 Definitions.

For the purpose of this rule, the term:

Baseline means the condition of the natural resources and services that would have existed had the incident not occurred. Baseline data may be estimated using historical data, reference data, control data, or data on incremental changes (e.g., number of dead animals), alone or in combination, as appropriate.

Cost-effective means the least costly activity among two or more activities that provide the same or a comparable level of benefits, in the judgment of the trustees.

CEQ regulations means the Council on Environmental Quality regulations implementing NEPA, 40 CFR chapter V.

Damages means damages specified in section 1002(b) of OPA (33 U.S.C. 1002(b)), and includes the costs of assessing these damages, as defined in section 1001(5) of OPA (33 U.S.C. 2701(5)).

Discharge means any emission (other than natural seepage), intentional or unintentional, and includes, but is not limited to, spilling, leaking, pumping, pouring, emitting, emptying, or dumping, as defined in section 1001(7) of OPA (33 U.S.C. 2701(7)).

Exclusive Economic Zone means the zone established by Presidential Proclamation 5030 of March 10, 1983 (3 CFR, 1984 Comp., p. 22), including the ocean waters of the areas referred to as “eastern special areas” in Article 3(1) of the Agreement between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Maritime Boundary, signed June 1, 1990, as defined in section 1001(8) of OPA (33 U.S.C. 2701(8)).

Exposure means direct or indirect contact with the discharged oil.

Facility means any structure, group of structures, equipment, or device (other than a vessel) which is used for one or more of the following purposes: exploring for, drilling for, producing, storing, handling, transferring, processing, or transporting oil. This term includes any motor vehicle, rolling stock, or pipeline used for one or more of these purposes, as defined in section 1001(9) of OPA (33 U.S.C. 2701(9)).

Fund means the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, established by section 9509 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (26 U.S.C. 9509), as defined in section 1001(11) of OPA (33 U.S.C. 2701(11)).

Incident means any occurrence or series of occurrences having the same origin, involving one or more vessels, facilities, or any combination thereof, resulting in the discharge or substantial threat of discharge of oil into or upon navigable waters or adjoining shorelines or the Exclusive Economic Zone, as defined in section 1001(14) of OPA (33 U.S.C. 2701(14)).

Indian tribe (or tribal) means any Indian tribe, band, nation, or other organized group or community, but not including any Alaska Native regional or village corporation, which is recognized as eligible for the special programs and services provided by the United States to Indians because of their status as Indians and has governmental authority over lands belonging to or controlled by the tribe, as defined in section 1001(15) of OPA (33 U.S.C. 2701(15)).

Indirect costs means expenses that are jointly or commonly incurred to produce two or more products or services. In contrast to direct costs, indirect costs are not specifically identifiable with any of the products or services, but are necessary for the organization to function and produce the products or services. An indirect cost rate, developed in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, may be used to allocate indirect costs to specific assessment and restoration activities. Both direct and indirect costs contribute to the full cost of the assessment and restoration, as provided in this part.

Injury means an observable or measurable adverse change in a natural resource or impairment of a natural resource service. Injury may occur directly or indirectly to a natural resource and/or service. Injury incorporates the terms “destruction,” “loss,” and “loss of use” as provided in OPA.

Lead Administrative Trustee(s) (or LAT) means the trustee(s) who is selected by all participating trustees whose natural resources or services are injured by an incident, for the purpose of coordinating natural resource damage assessment activities. The LAT(s) should also facilitate communication between the OSC and other natural resource trustees regarding their activities during the response phase.

Legal costs means the costs of attorney actions performed for the purpose of assessment or developing a restoration plan, in accordance with this part.

(1) When making a determination of the nature of attorneys' actions for purposes of this definition, trustees must consider whether:

(i) The action comprised all or part of an action specified either in this part or in OPA section 1006(c);

(ii) The action was performed prior to, or in the absence of, the filing of ligation by or on behalf of the trustee in question to recover damages; and

(iii) The action was performed by an attorney who was working for or on behalf of the trustee agency, as opposed to a prosecutorial agency.

(2) If all of the criteria in paragraph (1) of this definition are met, the costs associated with attorney's actions are deemed assessment costs. If the criteria are not met, the trustee must explain why the action was not performed for the primary purpose of furthering litigation in order to support a characterization of the action as an assessment action.

(3) Examples of common or routine assessment actions that may be most appropriately performed by trustee attorneys, in accordance with this part, include, but are not limited to:

(i) Providing written and oral advice on the requirements of OPA, this part, and other applicable laws;

(ii) Preparing public notices, including the Notice of Intent to Conduct Restoration Planning issued to responsible parties and the Notice of Availability of Draft Restoration Plans;

(iii) Developing and managing administrative records;

(iv) Preparing binding agreements with potentially responsible parties in the context of the assessment, including study agreements, funding agreements, and restoration agreements;

(v) Preparing co-trustee cooperative agreements;

(vi) Preparing formal trustee determinations required under this part; and

(vii) Procuring title searches, title insurance, and/or conservation easements when property agreements are part of restoration packages.

NCP means the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (National Contingency Plan) codified at 40 CFR part 300, which addresses the identification, investigation, study, and response to incidents, as defined in section 1001(19) of OPA (33 U.S.C. 2701(19)).

Natural resource damage assessment (or assessment) means the process of collecting and analyzing information to evaluate the nature and extent of injuries resulting from an incident, and determine the restoration actions needed to bring injured natural resources and services back to baseline and make the environment and public whole for interim losses.

Natural resources means land, fish, wildlife, biota, air, water, ground water, drinking water supplies, and other such resources belonging to, managed by, held in trust by, appertaining to, or otherwise controlled by the United States (including the resources of the Exclusive Economic Zone), any state or local government or Indian tribe, or any foreign government, as defined in section 1001(20) of OPA (33 U.S.C. 2701(20)).

Navigable waters means the waters of the United States, including the territorial sea, as defined in section 1001(21) of OPA (33 U.S.C. 2701(21)).

NEPA means the National Environmental Policy Act, 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.

Oil means oil of any kind or in any form, including, but not limited to, petroleum, fuel oil, sludge, oil refuse, and oil mixed with wastes other than dredged spoil. However, the term does not include petroleum, including crude oil or any fraction thereof, that is specifically listed or designated as a hazardous substance under 42 U.S.C. 9601(14)(A) through (F), as defined in section 1001(23) of OPA (33 U.S.C. 2701(23)).

On-Scene Coordinator (or OSC) means the official designated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or the U.S. Coast Guard to coordinate and direct response actions under the NCP, or the government official designated by the lead response agency to coordinate and direct response actions under the NCP.

OPA means the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, 33 U.S.C. 2701 et seq.

Pathway means any link that connects the incident to a natural resource and/or service, and is associated with an actual discharge of oil.

Person means an individual, corporation, partnership, association, state, municipality, commission, or political subdivision of a state, or any interstate body, as defined in section 1001(27) of OPA (33 U.S.C. 2701(27)).

Public vessel means a vessel owned or bareboat chartered and operated by the United States, or by a state or political subdivision thereof, or by a foreign nation, except when the vessel is engaged in commerce, as defined in section 1001(29) of OPA (33 U.S.C. 2701(29)).

Reasonable assessment costs means, for assessments conducted under this part, assessment costs that are incurred by trustees in accordance with this part. In cases where assessment costs are incurred but trustees do not pursue restoration, trustees may recover their reasonable assessment costs provided they have determined that assessment actions undertaken were premised on the likelihood of injury and need for restoration. Reasonable assessment costs also include: administrative costs, legal costs, and other costs necessary to carry out this part; monitoring and oversight costs; costs associated with public participation; and indirect costs that are necessary to carry out this part.

Recovery means the return of injured natural resources and services to baseline.

Response (or remove or removal) means containment and removal of oil or a hazardous substance from water and shorelines or the taking of other actions as may be necessary to minimize or mitigate damage to the public health or welfare, including, but not limited to, fish, shellfish, wildlife, and public and private property, shorelines, and beaches, as defined in section 1001(30) of OPA (33 U.S.C. 2701(30)).

Responsible party means:

(a) Vessels. In the case of a vessel, any person owning, operating, or demise chartering the vessel.

(b) Onshore facilities. In the case of an onshore facility (other than a pipeline), any person owning or operating the facility, except a federal agency, state, municipality, commission, or political subdivision of a state, or any interstate body, that as the owner transfers possession and right to use the property to another person by lease, assignment, or permit.

(c) Offshore facilities. In the case of an offshore facility (other than a pipeline or a deepwater port licensed under the Deepwater Port Act of 1974 (33 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.)), the lessee or permittee of the area in which the facility is located or the holder of a right of use and easement granted under applicable state law or the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (43 U.S.C. 1301-1356) for the area in which the facility is located (if the holder is a different person than the lessee or permittee), except a federal agency, state, municipality, commission, or political subdivision of a state, or any interstate body, that as owner transfers possession and right to use the property to another person by lease, assignment, or permit.

(d) Deepwater ports. In the case of a deepwater port licensed under the Deepwater Port Act of 1974 (33 U.S.C. 1501-1524), the licensee.

(e) Pipelines. In the case of a pipeline, any person owning or operating the pipeline.

(f) Abandonment. In the case of an abandoned vessel, onshore facility, deepwater port, pipeline, or offshore facility, the persons who would have been responsible parties immediately prior to the abandonment of the vessel or facility, as defined in section 1001(32) of OPA (33 U.S.C. 2701(32)).

Restoration means any action (or alternative), or combination of actions (or alternatives), to restore, rehabilitate, replace, or acquire the equivalent of injured natural resources and services. Restoration includes:

(a) Primary restoration, which is any action, including natural recovery, that returns injured natural resources and services to baseline; and

(b) Compensatory restoration, which is any action taken to compensate for interim losses of natural resources and services that occur from the date of the incident until recovery.

Services (or natural resource services) means the functions performed by a natural resource for the benefit of another natural resource and/or the public.

Trustees (or natural resource trustees) means those officials of the federal and state governments, of Indian tribes, and of foreign governments, designated under 33 U.S.C. 2706(b) of OPA.

United States and State means the several States of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the United States Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, and any other territory or possession of the United States, as defined in section 1001(36) of OPA (33 U.S.C. 2701(36)).

Value means the maximum amount of goods, services, or money an individual is willing to give up to obtain a specific good or service, or the minimum amount of goods, services, or money an individual is willing to accept to forgo a specific good or service. The total value of a natural resource or service includes the value individuals derive from direct use of the natural resource, for example, swimming, boating, hunting, or birdwatching, as well as the value individuals derive from knowing a natural resource will be available for future generations.

Vessel means every description of watercraft or other artificial contrivance used, or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on water, other than a public vessel, as defined in section 1001(37) of OPA (33 U.S.C. 2701(37)).

[61 FR 500, Jan. 5, 1996, as amended at 67 FR 61493, Oct. 1, 2002]