Provide guidance, policy, and tools for Coast Guard Marine Environmental Response planning, preparedness, and operations to prevent, enforce, investigate, respond to, and to mitigate the threat, frequency, and consequences of oil discharges and hazardous substance releases into the navigable waters of the United States.
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).
The next convening of the triennial International Oil Spill Conference (IOSC) will be held in New Orleans, LA from May 10-13, 2021 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. The IOSC promotes a culture of proficiency and preparedness across the oil spill response and incident management communities in order to ensure the protection of the marine environment. It provides an open forum for professionals from the international community, the private sector, government, and non-governmental organizations to highlight and discuss innovations and best practices across the spectrum of prevention, preparedness, response, and restoration.
In 1971, the USCG, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the American Petroleum Institute (API) began a joint sponsorship of the IOSC. Today’s IOSC permanent sponsorship team includes five additional domestic and international organizations:
(1) the International Maritime Organization (IMO),
(2) the International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association (IPIECA),
(3) the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE),
(4) the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA),
(5) the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
With a 48-year track record of participation, the USCG serves on the Executive Committee, provides the IOSC Program Chair, contributes to the development and facilitation of the Technical Demonstration, showcases special capabilities on the trade floor, and supports the international community's involvement by hosting beneficiaries of the IOSC scholarship program. In addition, the Coast Guard provides authors for papers and posters, and volunteer subject matter experts for reviewing abstract, paper, and poster submissions.
Please visit the IOSC website at: www.iosc2020.org periodically to find information and updates regarding the conference’s film festival, short courses, guest speakers, trade show, and equipment demonstrations.