2.5 Multi-Regional Responsibilities

The Federal OSC for a given incident is determined by the point of origin of the release. However, if a discharge or release affects areas covered by two or more RCPs/ACPs, the response mechanisms of both may be affected. In this case, response actions of all Regions concerned shall be fully coordinated as detailed in the RCPs. 

There shall be only one OSC at any time during the course of a specific response operation. Should a discharge or release affect two or more areas, US EPA, USCG, DOD, DOE, or other lead agency, as appropriate, shall give prime consideration to the area vulnerable to the greatest threat, in determining which agency should provide the OSC. The RRT shall designate the OSC if the RRT member agencies that have response authority within the affected area are unable to agree on the designation. The NRT shall designate the OSC if members of one RRT or two adjacent RRTs are unable to agree on the designation. 

Where USCG has initially provided the OSC for response to a release of hazardous materials located in the coastal zone, responsibility for response shall shift to US EPA, DOD or DOE as appropriate.

Several interregional entities have been established that have interests within Region 5 and have roles in response and planning.  The entities vary considerably in their concerns and capabilities. The following is a list of these interregional organizations.

2.5.1 Great Lakes Commission

The Great Lakes Commission (GLC) is an interstate compact commission consisting of gubernatorially appointed and legislatively mandated representatives of the eight Great Lakes States (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York). The Commission was formed to promote the informed use, development, and protection of Great Lakes Basin land and water resources through regional coordination, policy development, and advocacy.

2.5.2 Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission

The Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO) is an interstate water pollution control agency established in 1948, with membership consisting of representatives from the eight States in the Ohio River Valley (Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia), and a representative from US EPA. The Commission is responsible for operating several programs:

  • water quality monitoring of the Ohio River and its major tributaries
  • regulation of wastewater discharge to the Ohio River
  • investigation of particular water pollution problems

In addition, ORSANCO assists State environmental agencies, US EPA, and USCG in emergency spill response and notification. ORSANCO maintains a spill notification database on the Ohio River and its tributaries. Specifically, in the event of a spill on the Ohio River or a major tributary, ORSANCO’s role is to serve as an interstate communications center, assisting in emergency notification procedures and to coordinate emergency stream monitoring.

2.5.3 Upper Mississippi River Basin Association

The Upper Mississippi River Basin Association (UMRBA) is an interstate organization formed by the Governors of Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin to maintain communication and cooperation among the States on matters related to water resources planning and management in the Upper Mississippi Basin. The five States are represented through gubernatorial appointees, and five Federal Agencies have advisory status. As part of its efforts to facilitate cooperative planning, the Association provides support to an ad-hoc Upper Mississippi Spills Coordination Group, which includes representatives of the five State response agencies, as well as US EPA Regions 5 and 7, USCG, USFWS, NOAA, and USACE. The group meets periodically to discuss common problems and coordinate activities to respond to spills on the Upper Mississippi. This group also maintains a Response Plan and Resource Manual that defines spill response policy on the main stem of the Upper Mississippi River.