(a) When an incident occurs, it is imperative to give the public prompt, accurate information on the nature of the incident and the actions underway to mitigate the damage. OSCs/RPMs and community relations personnel should ensure that all appropriate public and private interests are kept informed and that their concerns are considered throughout a response. They should coordinate with available public affairs/community relations resources to carry out this responsibility by establishing, as appropriate, a Joint Information Center bringing together resources from federal and state agencies and the responsible party.
(b) An on-scene news office may be established to coordinate media relations and to issue official federal information on an incident. Whenever possible, it will be headed by a representative of the lead agency. The OSC/RPM determines the location of the on-scene news office, but every effort should be made to locate it near the scene of the incident. If a participating agency believes public interest warrants the issuance of statements and an on-scene news office has not been established, the affected agency should recommend its establishment. All federal news releases or statements by participating agencies should be cleared through the OSC/RPM. Information dissemination relating to natural resource damage assessment activities shall be coordinated through the lead administrative trustee. The designated lead administrative trustee may assist the OSC/RPM by disseminating information on issues relating to damage assessment activities. Following termination of removal activity, information dissemination on damage assessment activities shall be through the lead administrative trustee.
(c) The community relations requirements specified in §§ 300.415, 300.430, and 300.435 apply to removal, remedial, and enforcement actions and are intended to promote active communication between communities affected by discharges or releases and the lead agency responsible for response actions. Community Relations Plans (CRPs) are required by EPA for certain response actions. The OSC/RPM should ensure coordination with such plans which may be in effect at the scene of a discharge or release or which may need to be developed during follow-up activities.