Why SPCC is not delegated to the states?

capitolAs we all know, many federal environmental programs are delegated to the state levels for implementation with oversight from EPA. Such is not the case with the Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures (SPCC).

When Congress passed the Clean Water Act in 1972, it directed the President to develop a National Contingency Plan. Under Section 311(j)(1) of the Act, the President is directed to est”lish procedures, methods,a nd equipment and other requirements for equipment ot prevent discharge of oil and hazardous substances from vessels and from onshore facilities…”…..

The President is specifically authorized to delegate the administration of Section 311 of the Clean Water Act to “the heads of those Federal departments, agencies, and instrumentalities which he determines to be appropriate”.  There is no mention of any authority to delegate to state agencies.

Some state governments have enacted state laws that require their industries to have spill prevention plans that are the same as those spelled out in the SPCC regulations. California is one of these states. So if an inspector from one of the California state regional water quality control boards finds that you don’t have a SPCC plan, the agency can cite you  for violating the state law – but not the federal law.

Only an EPA inspector can cite you for SPCC violations.


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