THE MARINE MAMMAL COMMISSION COMPENDIUM
BILATERAL / CANADA
Volume(s) 1-3; pages 2946-2951
Memorandum of Understanding Between the Environmental Protection Agency of the United States of America and the Department of the Environment of the Government of Canada Regarding Accidental and Unauthorized Discharges of Pollutants Along the Inland Boundary, Ottawa, 1985
Done at Ottawa 17 October 1985
Entered into force 17 October 1985
Primary source citation: TIAS 11170
MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ENVIRONMENT OF THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA REGARDING ACCIDENTAL AND UNAUTHORIZED DISCHARGES OF POLLUTANTS ALONG THE INLAND BOUNDARY
This Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of the Environment of Canada and the Environmental Protection Agency of the United States of America (hereafter; ‘the Parties’) outlines a plan of cooperative measures for dealing with accidental and unauthorized releases of pollutants that cause or may cause damage to the environment along the shared inland boundary and that may constitute a threat to the public health, property or welfare.
For the purpose of this Memorandum of Understanding (M.O.U.):
(a) ‘A polluting incident’ means an accidental or unauthorized release of any pollutants on either side of the inland international boundary of a magnitude which causes, or threatens to cause, substantial adverse effects on the environment, public health, property or welfare of the other side.
(b) ‘Environment’ means the atmosphere, land, and surface and ground waters, including the natural resources therein, and all other components of the ecosystem.
(c) ‘Pollutants’ means substances which, if discharged, cause or may cause damage to the environment, public health, property or welfare according to the laws and regulations of each Party and the judgment of the national Co-Chairman of the Joint Response Team (JRT). The JRT and its responsibilities are defined in Appendix I. (d) ‘Inland international boundary’ means the non-maritime boundary common to both countries, including boundary and transboundary waters not included in the Canada-United States Joint Marine Pollution Contingency Plan.
The Parties will establish the ‘Canada-United States Joint Pollution Contingency Plan’ (hereafter; ‘The Plan’, See Appendix I) with the objective to provide cooperative measures to deal effectively with accidental or unauthorized discharges of pollutants along the inland boundary.
The Plan is designed to (a) alert the appropriate authorities within federal and provincial/state jurisdictions of the existence or threat of polluting incidents, and (b) to initiate measures that will restrict, contain or eliminate to the extent possible the threat posed to the environment, the public health, property or welfare by such incidents.
The Parties, through the coordinating authorities, will establish a Joint Response Team to design and implement the Plan.
The coordinating authority for the Plan for Canada is the Environmental Protection Service of the Department of the Environment, and for the United States of America is the Environmental Protection Agency.
The JRT will respond to a polluting incident in accordance with the Plan. The Plan will be applicable whenever a polluting incident occurs that affects both countries or, although only directly affecting one country, is of such a magnitude as to justify a call on the other country for assistance.
Nothing in this M.O.U. shall be construed to prejudice existing or future agreements concluded between the two Parties, or affect the rights and obligations of the Parties under international agreements or arrangements to which they are or may become party.
The coordinating authorities may conclude or amend technical appendices or area-specific annexes to the Plan to facilitate prompt and effective measures in response to polluting incidents. In Canada, the appendices and annexes will be concluded or amended by agreement with the jurisdictions listed in Appendix I, Section 5.
The Plan will enter into force by signature of the coordinating authorities.
(1) This M.O.U. shall enter into force upon signature.
(2) Either Party may give notice of its intention to terminate this M.O.U. The M.O.U. shall terminate six months after such notification.
Done in duplicate at Ottawa this 17 October, 1985. Lee M. Thomas Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency For the United States of America
Tom McMillan Minister, Department of the Environment For Canada
AN ABSTRACT OF THE JOINT CONTINGENCY PLAN
1. THE PLAN
The Canada-United States of America Joint Pollution Contingency Plan provides an organization for cooperative responses to transborder polluting incidents.
2. THE PURPOSE
The purpose of the Plan is to establish cooperative measures to deal with polluting incidents by coordinating the federal, state, provincial and regional contingency plans of both countries.
3. THE OBJECTIVES
The objectives of the Plan are:
(a) to establish appropriate measures for reporting of polluting incidents along the inland international border;
(b) to establish measures and procedures for responding promptly to such polluting incidents so as to eliminate or minimize any threat to the environment, and to the public health, property or welfare; and
(c) to identify the resources required for coordinated responses to polluting incidents.
The coordinating authority for each Party will divide its territory into planning areas (provinces, regions, states) and will provide annexes to the Plan that, among other matters, will define the jurisdiction, roles and response procedures of regulatory and support agencies within the specific areas of each country.
The Plan will provide for a federal Joint Response Team (JRT) to advise and assist area On-Scene Coordinators/Commanders (OSC) and Advisory and Liaison Coordinators (ALC). The Plan will also provide for alerting and reporting procedures, command structures, clean-up and post clean-up requirements, and arrangements for assuming the responsibility for the cost of clean-up operations.
5. ANNEXES TO THE PLAN
In Canada, annexes to the Plan will be developed and maintained by agreement with the following jurisdictions:
and in cooperation with the following federal departments and agencies:
Department of Energy, Mines and Resources
Department of Fisheries and Oceans
Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development
Department of National Health and Welfare
Department of Transport
Canadian Oil and Gas Lands Administration
Canadian Transport Commission
In the United States of America, annexes to the Plan will be developed and maintained by agreement with the following departments and agencies:
and in accord with the plans listed below:
National Oil and Hazardous Substances Contingency Plan
Regional Contingency Plans
Region 2New York
and appropriate authorities thereof.
JOINT RESPONSE TEAM (JRT)
The coordinating authority for each Party will designate its Co-Chairman and its members on the JRT and will inform the other Party of its choices.
The JRT will meet as necessary and as determined by the Co-Chairmen. The U.S. Co-Chairman will preside at meetings held in the U.S.A., the Canadian Co-Chairman will preside at meetings in Canada.
On receipt of reports of polluting incidents along the inland international border, the Co-Chairmen of the JRT, following consultation with the OSC, will decide if a joint response is required and if so, will advise the appropriate authorities in each country of the time and place for the initiation and the termination of such a response.
During a joint response, the primary functions and responsibilities of the JRT are to:
provide an Advisory and Liaison Coordinator (ALC) at the scene of the polluting incident for liaison between the OSC and the JRT, and to advise the OSC on JRT matters;
provide environmental, technical, logistic, legal, customs, immigration, financial and public information/media-relations advice and assistance requested or needed by the OSC and ALC. (Neither the JRT nor the ALC has operational control over the OSC);
coordinate all reporting on the status of the polluting incident to the respective national authorities;
evaluate actions taken by the OSC and make recommendations for additional measures needed to respond to the incident;
take measures to coordinate the provision and maximum use of the resources that agencies or persons of Canada, or of the United States of America, or of a third party can contribute to support the ALC and the OSC in their respective coordination and operational roles; and
consider the daily logs and reports of the OSC and ALC, and prepare recommendations for improvements needed in the Plan and in any supporting contingency plans.
7. ON-SCENE COORDINATOR/COMMANDER (OSC)
OSCs will be appointed by an agency of the federal or other level of government having direct jurisdiction over the parties involved in the polluting incident in the province, region or state concerned.
The coordinating authority for each Party will divide its territory into planning areas (provinces, regions, states), and will appoint Advisory and Liaison Coordinators (ALCs) to assist the On-Scene Coordinator/Commander for the province, region or state concerned.
Each ALC will be an ex-officio member of the Joint Response Team (JRT).
The OSC will integrate and coordinate the federal/provincial/state/regional contingency plans for his/her area of responsibility to ensure that alerting, reporting and response are in place for polluting incidents along the border area.
The OSC, assisted by the ALC, is responsible for ensuring that alerting and situation reports are made promptly to the appropriate agency and to the Co-Chairmen of the JRT on any polluting incident that requires or may require the initiation of a joint response.
The OSC is responsible for recommending the initiation and the termination of a joint response to the Co-Chairmen of the JRT. If response action is required in the territories of both parties, the OSCs of both Parties will coordinate the measures to be adopted through the collaboration of both ALCs.
The OSC is responsible for determining all facts relevant to a polluting incident, including:
the identity of the polluter;
the nature, quantity, location and probable migration of the pollutant;
the available resources and the additional resources required to deal with the incident;
the potential effects on public health and welfare, on property or on the environment; and
priorities for protection in an action plan.
The OSC is the final authority for all decisions related to response and countermeasures operations. In exercising this authority, the OSC will be guided by national and domestic laws and policies, and good environmental practices in such matters as, for example, the use of chemical dispersants or neutralizers.
The OSC will maintain a daily log of events that occur during the response operation and will communicate this daily log, along with periodic situation reports (SITREPs) to the JRT. On completion of the response operation, the OSC, assisted by the ALC, will submit to the JRT a final report that includes but is not limited to recommendations for improving contingency plans and response operations.
OSCs on both sides of the border will develop and maintain video, graphic or other records of sensitive areas that are to be given a high priority for protection in the event of a polluting incident.
The OSCs, with the assistance of ALCs and the JRT, will ensure that special customs, immigration and other emergency authorisation procedures are in place and understood by area authorities.