[Federal Register: August 2, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 149)]
[Page 50454-50455]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Intent To Conduct Restoration Planning for Natural 
Resources Injured by the Release of Oil From the T/V Command, San 
Francisco, CA

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Department of the Interior, acting through the Fish 
and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Department of Commerce, acting through 
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, California 
Department of Fish and Game (CDFG), the California State Lands 
Commission (SLC), and the California Department of Parks and Recreation 
(DPR), are joint trustees (Trustees) for natural resources and are 
authorized to assess injuries to Federal and State resources caused by 
the T/V Command Oil Spill and to plan and implement restoration actions 
to address those injuries. The Trustees announce the intent to prepare 
a draft Restoration Plan (RP) and Environmental Assessment (EA) for the 
T/V Command Oil Spill. As an initial step, a scoping document has been 
prepared to guide development of the restoration plan. The Trustees 
have invited and encouraged agencies and the public to provide written 
comments on the scoping document through publication in newspapers, 
mailings, agency websites and other notices. In addition, a public 
meeting on the scoping document was held in May, 2002, and other 
opportunities for public comment are provided through public review and 
comment on documents contained in the Administrative Record, and on the 
Draft Restoration Plan when it has been prepared.

ADDRESSES: Written comments on all restoration planning documents 
should be sent to: Field Supervisor, Fish and Wildlife Service, 
Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, 2800 Cottage Way, Room W-2605, 
Sacramento, CA 95825 (facsimile 916/414-6713). Comments and materials 
received will be available for public inspection, by appointment, 
during normal business hours at the above address. All restoration 
planning documents will be available on the T/V Command website at 
http://www.darcnw.noaa.gov/command.htm and http://www.dfg.ca.gov/Ospr/
restorations.html. Copies of Comments and reports will also be on file 
at the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, Fort Mason, 
Building 201, San Francisco, CA 94123; (415) 561-6622. It is available 
for public inspection during normal business hours, by appointment, at 
that address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information, or to be 
notified of future restoration planning activities contact Charlene 
Hall, Fish and Wildlife Service, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office 
(see ADDRESSES section) at (916) 414-6739 or visit the T/V Command 
website at http://www.darcnw.noaa.gov/command.htm and http://



    On September 26, 1998, the T/V Command (owned and operated by Anax 
International Agencies) left San Francisco Bay bound for Panama. As it 
traveled in the southbound traffic lane off San Francisco and San Mateo 
County coasts, it released an estimated 3,000 gallons of Intermediate 
Bunker Fuel (IBF) 380, also known as Fuel Oil No. 6. On September 30, 
oil began to wash ashore, largely in the form of scattered tarballs, 
over 15 miles of beaches, primarily in San Mateo County.
    The primary impacts from the spill were: (1) Injuries to large 
numbers of seabirds; (2) Injuries to sandy beach and rocky intertidal 
shoreline habitats; and (3) Lost and diminished use of beaches for 
human recreation. The restoration effort is aimed at developing a 
strategy for restoring habitats, species, and natural resource services 
that are lost or impaired as a result of the spill. The draft RP/EA 
will describe the restoration alternatives considered and identify a 
preferred restoration alternative.
    The Trustees reached a settlement with Pearl Shipping Corporation 
and Anax International Agencies, Inc. (responsible parties). The 
Settlement was embodied in a Consent Decree that was reviewed by a U.S. 
District Court and was subject to public comment prior to being 
formally entered by the Court on March 31, 2000. Pursuant to the 
Consent Decree, the responsible parties placed a total of $5,518,000 
into an interest bearing account. Of the total civil settlement, 
$3,913,015.97 was deposited in the Natural Resources Damage Assessment 
and Restoration Fund created pursuant to 43 U.S.C. 1474b (NRDAR Fund) 
as natural resource damages.
    The Trustees have committed to the expenditure of the NRDA money 
for the design, implementation, permitting (as necessary), monitoring 
and oversight of restoration projects, and for the costs of complying 
with the requirement of the law to conduct a restoration planning and 
implementation process. The Trustees share joint responsibilities 
regarding the injured seabirds, habitat, and human use losses and have 
entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to coordinate 
restoration planning and oversight activities.

Trustees' Determinations

    The Trustees have made the following determinations pursuant to 15 
CFR 990.41 and 990.42:
    (1) Beginning on or about September 26, 1998, an occurrence 
involving a vessel in the Southern Traffic Lane seaward of San 
Francisco Bay, California, within the territorial sea of the United 
States, resulted in the discharge of oil into and upon navigable waters 
and adjoining shorelines of San Francisco and San Mateo Counties, and 
other areas to be determined, within the State of California. This 
occurrence constituted an incident within the meaning of 15 CFR 990.30. 
The Incident is also a spill or discharge as defined at California 
Government Code 8670.3(aa).
    (2) The Incident was not permitted under a permit issued under 
Federal, State, or Local law: was not from a public vessel; and was not 
from an offshore facility subject to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline 
Authority Act, 43 U.S.C. 1651 et seq.
    (3) Oil discharged during the Incident affected marine habitats, 
wildlife, and human uses in the area. Consequently, natural resources 
under the trusteeship of the Trustees have been injured as a result of 
the incident.
    (4) As a result of the foregoing determinations, the Trustees have 
jurisdiction to pursue restoration under the Federal Oil Pollution Act 
(OPA), 33 U.S.C. Sections 2701-2761, and California's Lampert-Keene-
Seastrand Oil Spill Prevention and Response Act, Government Code 
Sections 8670.1 et seq.

Trustees' Determination To Conduct Restoration Activities

    (1) Injuries resulted from the Incident. Data collected and 
analyzed pursuant to 15 CFR Section 990.43 demonstrate that injuries to 
natural resources are likely to have resulted from the incident, 
including, but not limited to the following:

[[Page 50455]]

    (A) Seabirds: Oiled birds were collected during the response. One 
hundred seventy-seven live and dead birds were recovered from the 
beaches. In addition, other birds were believed injured based on 
modeling, although not directly recovered. Injured species were 
primarily common murres, California brown pelicans and marbled 
murrelets, along with various other seabird species. California brown 
pelicans and marbled murrelets are listed as threatened and/or 
endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) (16 U.S.C. 
Section 1533(c)), and the California Endangered Species Act (Fish & 
Game Code Sections 2050, et seq.).
    (B) Sandy Beach and Rocky Intertidal Shoreline Habitats: The T/V 
Command oil spill affected over 15 miles of shoreline areas extending 
from Montara State Beach to Bean Hollow State Beach in San Mateo 
County, California.
    (C) Lost Human Use: From September 30 to October 11, the Incident 
interrupted recreational services to individuals participating in 
beach-related activities in San Mateo County, California. These 
activities include, but are not limited to, walking, jogging, swimming, 
surfing, tidal viewing, and picnicking.
    (2) Response actions have not adequately addressed the injuries 
resulting from the Incident. Although response actions were initiated 
promptly, the nature of the discharge and the sensitivity of the 
environment precluded prevention of injuries to some natural resources.
    (3) Feasible primary and/or compensatory restoration actions exist 
to address the potential injuries. The Trustees will be considering 
restoration projects that are feasible to implement. Components of a 
restoration plan may include seabird enhancement, shoreline habitat 
enhancement, and compensation for lost human use.
    Based on the above findings, the Trustees made the determination 
that they have jurisdiction to pursue restoration pursuant to the Oil 
Pollution Act, 33 U.S.C. Sections 2702 and 2706 (b)-(c).

Restoration Planning

    The primary impacts from the spill were injuries to large numbers 
of seabirds, primarily common murres. In addition, a number of 
California brown pelicans and marbled murrelets were impacted along 
with various other seabirds species. California brown pelicans and 
marbled murrelets are listed as threatened and/or endangered species 
under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) (16 U.S.C. 1533(c)) and the 
California Endangered Species Act (Fish & Game Code 2050, et seq.). In 
addition, injuries occurred to sandy beach and rocky intertidal 
shoreline habitats and lost and diminished use of beaches for human 
    The Trustee Council has begun the public scoping process for 
restoration planning. The goal of scoping is to initiate a public 
process to determine the scope of issues under consideration. The 
Trustees have developed a public scoping document to involve the public 
in the development of a draft restoration plan and environmental 
assessment (RP/EA). All persons affected by, or otherwise interested 
in, the proposed restoration plan have been invited (through 
publication in newspapers, mailings, and other notice) to participate 
in determining the scope of significant issues to be considered in the 
draft RP/EA by submitting written comments on the scoping document. 
Through the scoping process, the Trustees will identify and prioritize 
alternatives for potential restoration actions.
    The Trustees will develop a restoration plan and environmental 
assessment (RP/EA) to restore the resources injured from this spill. 
The RP/EA will set forth the details of specific project proposals to 
be developed by the Trustees. The final restoration plan will be 
prepared and implemented jointly by the Trustees, after providing 
public notice, opportunity for public input, and consideration of any 
public comment. In addition, certain projects may require the 
preparation of individual environmental impact statements or other 
additional compliance for NEPA or state NEPA-equivalent laws.

Administrative Record

    The Trustees have opened an Administrative Record (Record) in 
compliance with 15 CFR Section 990.45. The Record will include 
documents relied upon by the Trustees during the assessment and 
restoration planning performed in connection with the Incident. The 
Record is on file at the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine 
Sanctuary, Fort Mason, Building 201, San Francisco, California 94123. 
Arrangements can be made to review the Record by calling (415) 561-
6622. The Record can also be viewed on the T/V Command website at 
http://www.darcnw.noaa.gov/command.htm and http://www.dfg.ca.gov/Ospr/

Opportunity To Comment

    Pursuant to 15 CFR 990.44, the Trustees seek public involvement in 
restoration planning through public review and comment on the public 
scoping document and documents contained in the Administrative Record, 
as well as on the Draft Restoration Plan when it has been prepared. To 
receive future public notices regarding restoration planning, and for 
review of restoration planning documents, contact Charlene Hall (see 
ADDRESSES section) or visit the T/V Command website at http://
www.darcnw.noaa.gov/command.htm and http://www.dfg.ca.gov/Ospr/
restorations.html. Requests must be in writing to be processed.

National Environmental Policy Act

    The Fish and Wildlife Service and any other agencies that may 
receive funds from the Trustees must agree to obtain and comply with 
any applicable permits or authorizations from environmental regulatory 
agencies. In addition, recipients of funds must complete all 
environmental documentation and public review requirements under the 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and/or California 
Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).


    The primary authors of this notice are Kolleen Bannon (NOAA) and
    James Haas (Service; see ADDRESSES section).


    The authority for this action is the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (33 
U.S.C. 2701 et seq.).

    Dated: July 26, 2002.
D. Kenneth McDermond,
Deputy Manager, California/Nevada Operations Office, Sacramento, 
[FR Doc. 02-19483 Filed 8-1-02; 8:45 am]