The Marine Environmental Protection (MEP) mission is one of the Coast Guard's eleven statutory missions. The MEP mission includes the "planning, preparations, and operations to prevent, enforce, investigate, respond to, and mitigate the threat, frequency, and consequences of oil discharges and hazardous substance releases in U.S. waters." As a goal, the MEP mission facilitates the safe, efficient, and sustainable use of the Maritime Transportation System (MTS) by mitigating and reducing the risk of harm to the maritime environment.
The MEP mission includes distinct, but complementary, functions across the prevention, preparedness, and response spectrum. The Coast Guard performs the MEP mission at all levels of the organization.
Critical functions of the MEP mission include marine environmental response and preparedness. As the lead federal agency for preparedness and response to oil discharges and hazardous substance releases in the Coastal Zone (as defined in the National Contingency Plan), the Coast Guard develops policy and guidance to implement and support the National Response System (NRS). The Office of Marine Environmental Response Policy, Commandant (CG-MER), provides units with the policies, resources, and training to ensure effective and efficient execution of the MEP response and preparedness activities.
Commandant (CG-MER) protects public health and safety, the environment, national security, and U.S. economic interests by ensuring the coordinated, integrated, efficient and effective preparedness for and response to unintentional or intentional pollution incidents, maritime contingencies, and Spills of National Significance (SONS).