[Federal Register: May 24, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 100)]
[Page 29570-29571]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Availability of the Draft Restoration Plan and 
Environmental Assessment for the Certus, Inc. Chemical Spill Natural 
Resource Damage Assessment in Lee County, VA

AGENCY: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), on behalf of the 
Department of the Interior (DOI) and the Commonwealth of Virginia, 
announces the release for public review of the Draft Restoration Plan 
and Environmental Assessment (RP/EA) for the Certus, Inc. Chemical 
Spill Natural Resource Damage Assessment in Tazewell County, Virginia. 
The draft RP/EA describes the trustees' proposal to restore natural 
resources injured as a result of a release of hazardous substances.

DATES: Written comments must be submitted within 30 days from the date 
of publication of this notice.

ADDRESSES: Requests for copies of the draft RP/EA may be made to: U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, Virginia Field Office, 6669 Short Lane, 
Gloucester, Virginia 23061. Written comments or materials regarding the 
draft RP/EA should be sent to the same address.

Wildlife Service, 6669 Short Lane, Gloucester, Virginia 23061. 
Interested parties may also call 804-693-6694, extension 107, for 
further information.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On August 27, 1998, a tanker truck 
overturned on U.S. Route 460 in Tazewell County, Virginia. The truck 
released approximately 1,350 gallons of Octocure 554-revised, a rubber 
accelerant, into an unnamed tributary about 530 feet from its 
confluence with the Clinch River. The spill turned the river a snowy 
white color and caused a significant fish kill. The spill also killed 
most aquatic benthic invertebrates for about 7 miles downstream and 
destroyed one of the last two known remaining reproducing populations 
of the endangered tan riffleshell mussel. A consent decree was entered 
with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia, 
Abingdon Division, by the United States and Certus, Inc. on April 7, 
2003, to address natural resource damages resulting from the 1998 
release. The consent decree stipulates that settlement funds are to be 
``* * * managed by the DOI for the joint benefit and use of the Federal 
and State Trustees to plan, perform, monitor and oversee native, 
freshwater mussel restoration projects within the Clinch River 
watershed * * *.''
    Under the authority of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, 
Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) of 1980, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 
9601 et seq., ``natural resource trustees may assess damages to natural 
resources resulting from a discharge of oil or a release of a hazardous 
substance * * * and may seek to recover those damages.'' Natural 
resource damage assessments are separate from the cleanup actions 
undertaken at a hazardous waste or spill site, and provide a process 
whereby the natural resource trustees can determine the proper 
compensation to the public for injury to natural resources. The natural 
resource damage assessment process seeks to: (1) Determine whether 
injury to, or loss of, trust resources has occurred; (2) ascertain the 
magnitude of the injury or loss; (3) calculate the appropriate 
compensation for the injury, including the cost of restoration; and (4) 
develop a restoration plan that will restore, rehabilitate, replace, 
and/or acquire equivalent resources for those resources that were 

injured or lost.
    This draft RP/EA has been developed by the Service in order to 
address and evaluate restoration alternatives related to natural 
resource injuries within the Clinch River watershed. The purpose of 
this RP/EA is to design and evaluate possible alternatives that will 
restore, rehabilitate, replace, or acquire natural resources, and the 
services provided by those resources, that approximate those injured as 
a result of the spill using funds collected as natural resource damages 
for injuries, pursuant to the CERCLA. This draft RP/EA describes the 
affected environment, identifies potential restoration alternatives and 
their plausible environmental consequences, and describes the proposed 
preferred alternative.
    Section 111(i) of the CERCLA requires natural resource trustees to 
develop a restoration plan prior to allocating recoveries to implement 
restoration actions, and to obtain public comment on that plan. Under 
the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Federal agencies must 
identify and evaluate environmental impacts that may result from 
Federal actions. This draft RP/EA integrates CERCLA and NEPA 
requirements by summarizing the affected environment, describing the 
purpose and need for action, and describing the restoration activities 
considered, including the alternative preferred by the Trustees.
    This draft RP/EA will be available for review and comment by 
interested members of the public, natural resource Trustees, and other 
affected Federal or State agencies or Native American tribes, for a 
period of 30 days from the date of publication of this notice. Comments 
must be submitted in writing to: John Schmerfeld, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, Virginia Field Office, 6669 Short Lane, Gloucester, 
Virginia 23061.

[[Page 29571]]

    Comments, including names and home addresses of respondents, will 
be available for public review during regular business hours. 
Individual respondents may request confidentiality. If you wish us to 
withold your name and/or address from public review or from disclosure 
under the Freedom of Information Act, you must state this prominently 
at the beginning of your written comment. Such requests will be honored 
to the extent allowed by law. We will not, however, consider anonymous 
comments. All submissions from organizations or businesses, and from 
individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of 
organizations or businesses, will be made available for public 
inspection in their entirety.
    Interested members of the public are invited to review and comment 
on the draft RP/EA. Copies of the draft RP/EA are available for review 
at the Service's Virginia Field Office in Gloucester, Virginia, and at 
the Service's Southwestern Virginia Field Office located at 330 
Cummings Street, Suite A, Abingdon, Virginia 24210. Written comments 
will be considered and addressed in the final RP/EA.
    Author: The primary author of this notice is John Schmerfeld, U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, Virginia Field Office, 6669 Short Lane, 
Gloucester, Virginia 23061.

    Authority: The authority for this action is the Comprehensive 
Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 as 
amended, commonly known as Superfund (42 U.S.C. 9601 et seq.), and 
DOI's Natural Resource Damage Assessment Regulations found at 43 
CFR, part 11.

    Dated: May 17, 2004.
Richard O. Bennett,
Acting Regional Director, Region 5, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
U.S. Department of the Interior, Designated Authorized Official.
[FR Doc. 04-11640 Filed 5-21-04; 8:45 am]