[Federal Register: August 18, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 159)]
[Page 51319-51320]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Availability of the Final Restoration Plan and 
Environmental Assessment for the Certus, Inc. Chemical Spill Natural 
Resource Damage Assessment in Tazewell 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 
(jointly referred to as the Trustees), announces the release of the 
Final Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment (RP/EA) for the 
Certus, Inc. Chemical Spill Natural Resource Damage Assessment in 
Tazewell County, Virginia. The final RP/EA describes the Trustees' 
proposal to restore natural resources injured as a result of a release 
of hazardous substances.

DATES: August 15, 2004.

ADDRESSES: Requests for copies of the final RP/EA may be made to: U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, Virginia Field Office, 6669 Short Lane, 
Gloucester, Virginia 23061.

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,

[[Page 51320]]

freshwater mussel restoration projects within the Clinch River 
watershed * * *''
    Under the authority of the Comprehensive Response, Compensation and 
Liability Act of 1980, as amended (CERCLA), 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 (NRDA) 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 
    This final RP/EA has been developed by the Trustees 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 implement restoration actions that will restore, 
rehabilitate, replace, and/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 final 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 final RP/EA has integrated CERCLA and NEPA 
requirements by summarizing the affected environment, describing the 
purpose and need for action, and selecting and describing the preferred 
restoration activities and including public comment.
    This final RP/EA will be available to interested members of the 
public, natural resource Trustees, other affected Federal or State 
agencies or Native American tribes upon request.
    Author: The primary author of this notice is John Schmerfeld, U.S. 
Fish & 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 
the NRDA Regulations found at 43 CFR, part 11.

    Dated: August 11, 2004.
Thomas J. Healy,
Acting Regional Director, Region 5, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
Department of the Interior, Designated Authorized Official.
[FR Doc. 04-18918 Filed 8-17-04; 8:45 am]