6.1 CERCLA-Funded Response

The person or persons responsible for discharges or releases are liable for costs of cleanup. Action will be initiated by the agency administering the funding mechanism to recover such expenditures from the party responsible for the discharge, if known. The OSC may also issue an Administrative Order, either by consent or unilaterally, to require financially viable responsible parties to conduct the removal action.

Until new guidance is published, all incidents requiring funding must be screened by category:

(a) CWA Section 311(k) for oil only, and

(b) CERCLA for any release or threat of release of a hazardous material as defined by CERCLA.

A U.S. EPA and USCG Headquarters agreement states that response to any potentially hazardous oil and hazardous materials mixture shall be CERCLA-funded. This section addresses U.S. EPA and State access to OPA and CERCLA funding. USCG procedures can be found in USCG ACPs.

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), commonly known as Superfund, was enacted by Congress on December 11, 1980 and updated under the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) in 1986. An overview can be found at

Funding guidance can be found through the National Pollution Fund Center at

Local Government Reimbursement under CERCLA

6.1.1 Local CERCLA Access

The purpose of local CERCLA access is to provide funds (limited to $25,000) in the form of reimbursements for expenses, to local, county, and tribal governments that respond to hazardous substance release in their jurisdiction.

6.2 Oil Pollution Act

The Oil Pollution Act established the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund (OSLTF) to pay for oil spill cleanups and damages in cases where they responsible party cannot or will not pay for the cleanup. The OSLTF is administered by the USCG’s National Pollution Fund Center.

6.2.1 Local OPA Access

6.3 FEMA Disasters, Stafford Act

The Stafford Act provides the legal authority for the federal government to provide assistance to states during declared major disasters and emergencies.

6.4 Forms

  • Pollution Removal Funding Authorization (PRFA): A PRFA is issued to a government agency to assist the FOSC when responding to an oil spill.  Forms for issuing a PRFA to a federal or state agency can be found at the website. The FOSC will prepare cost documentation to the NPFC. Each agency involved in the spill must have a separate PRFA.
  • Claims: Claims against the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 can be submitted to the National Pollution Fund Center for damages due to an oil spill or uncompensated removal costs. A claim can be submitted by local and State agencies for costs incurred related to an oil spill. Spill response contractors can also submit a claim against the OSLTF for costs incurred if the responsible party has been invoiced and is not willing to pay contractor. Costs for spill cleanup can be submitted to the NPFC after the incident if direct state access or a PRFA was not used. An FOSC is not involved in the claims process.  When submitting a claim against the OSLTF, the claimant must ensure:
    • Response actions taken are consistent with the NCP
    • The material spilled is an oil
    • The name of the navigable water threatened or impacted by the oil
    • A cost breakdown of the amount being claimed