The Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) has the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s public trustee and custodial responsibilities for protecting, managing and restoring the State’s fish, wildlife, and plants. It is one of the few State agencies in the nation that has both major pollution response authority and public trustee authority for wildlife and habitat. This mandate ensures that prevention, preparedness, restoration and response will provide the best protection for California’s natural resources.
OSPR's mission is to provide best achievable protection of California's natural resources by preventing, preparing for, and responding to spills of oil and other deleterious materials, and through restoring and enhancing affected resources.
The New OSPR
In 2014, Governor Brown expanded the OSPR program to cover all state surface waters at risk of oil spills from any source, including pipelines, production facilities, and the increasing shipments of oil transported by railroads. This expansion provided critical administrative funding for industry preparedness, spill response, and continued coordination with local, state and federal government along with industry and non-governmental organizations.
Senate Bill 861 authorized the expansion and provided the additional statutory and regulatory authority, for the prevention, preparedness and response activities in the new inland areas of responsibility.
A strategic roll out of the expanded program includes targeting critical locations at which to stage spill responders and equipment for best response to rail and pipeline incidents to protect California residents and natural resources.
While OSPR has the authority to act under the new budget, implementation requires regulations that will guide industry, local and state government, and the public through aspects of the program like certificates of financial responsibility, contingency plans, and drills and exercises.
- Creating effective regulations requires close collaboration with local government, non-governmental organizations, and industry.
- The new program extends authority to fund responses to oil spills throughout the state from the State’s oil spill response fund, capped at $55 million.
OSPR plans to build relationships with local governments through workshops and presentations, explaining the program and our intent to work with communities to build a strong response spill team.
- Part of the networking with local governments will involve collaborating on and creating training opportunities for all responders to attend.
OSPR will focus upon creating inland geographic response plans that have the depth and breadth of the marine Area Contingency Plans with its local, state and federal partners.
- Response plans will identify public safety concerns, resources at risk, equipment needs, strategies for water protection and response, economic resources at risk, and additional resources. Planning efforts will be accomplished in coordination and cooperation with the local government, the public and industry.
OSPR and the UC Davis Wildlife Health Center operate the Oiled Wildlife Care Network, and as a team, will begin the process of identifying potential wildlife impacts and wildlife response needs to expand the proven program inland.
- The budget provides stable funding for the Oiled Wildlife Care Network which will help OWCN maintain and improve the services it provides and expand the resources its needs, especially trained volunteers.
- Maintains the Oil Spill Prevention Administration Fund fee at $0.065 cents per barrel (42 gallons), and also collect the fee on each barrel of crude oil received at CA refineries (about a sixth of a penny per gallon)
- Projections are that the fee expansion would increase revenues by $6.6 million in 2014-15 ($12.3 million annually when fully implemented).
- $500,000 to support expansion of the Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN) to adequately protect inland wildlife affected by oil.
- Additional revenues would go to provide ongoing funding for OWCN ($2 million annually) and to correct the OSPAF’s historical structural deficit.