Just as an independent FEMA's relationships with the Department of Justice and the Department of Defense are worthy of lengthy analysis by this blogger so to the FEMA/EPA relationships from inception of FEMA to today. This post refers however to a very very important policy decision executed by FEMA and EPA in July 1998 and concerning the funding of ESF-10 activities under the FEDERAL RESPONSE PLAN then in effect.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS BLOGGER HAS NO IDEA IF THIS AGREEMENT HAS EVER BEEN RATIFIED BY DHS OR HIGHER AUTHORITY SINCE CREATION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY ON MARCH 1ST, 2003 AT THE TIME FEMA WAS INTEGRATED INTO DHS AND RENAMED THE EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE AGENCY [please note that legally FEMA did not exist as a statutory entity from March 1, 2003 until its recreation by PKEMA 2006 on March 31, 2007].
This post is designed to just help fill out the historical record.
Through late spring and early July 1998, representatives of FEMA and EPA negotiated the use of the DRF [Disaster Relief Fund] to fund EPA HAZMATS ops and also the NCP ops in declared Presidential disasters and emergencies. I can find no public reference to this agreement and the two principals, Lacey Suiter (FEMA) and James Makris (EPA) are both deceased. Nonetheless this agreement was made and did in fact operate for mission assignments to both EPA and the US Coast Guard for operations under the NCP[40 CFR Part 300) and then ESF-10 of the Federal Response Plan until my retirement in October 1999.
Here is the language of that agreement in its full text:
"In those emergencies and disasters which result in a Presidential Declaration under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act P.L. 93-288, as amended, it is FEMA's intent to fully reimburse EPA for direct costs associated with carrying out its responsibilities as described in ESF-10. When appropriate, EPA will respond to an environmental disaster under its own legal authority (e.g. CERCLA, OPA, among other EPA laws and regulations) and fund sources (e.g. Superfund, among other appropriate EPA fund sources.) Examples of such ESF-10 activities which would be paid for with Stafford Act funds include costs associated with staffing of pre-deployment teams (i.e. ROC, EST), retrieving and disposing of orphan tanks and drums, household hazardous waste program expenditures, as well as all other hazardous material resonse activities caused by a natural disaster in areas declared a disaster by the President. An exception to this may be a pre-existing CERCLA or OPA sites or ongoing response."
This language appears to be limited to "natural disasters" but the final sentence compromises that limitation with its reference to "ongoing response". Certainly the oil spill is an ongoing response but NO declaration has yet issued pursuant to the STAFFORD ACT.
It was also contemplated that this agreement would eventually appear in a to-be-completed "Financial Annex" to the FRP! Well of course this whole concept needs complete examination assuming as I do that eventually the BP failure to cover claims and reimburse the federal government falls short.
I believe ESF-10 is now ESF-11.