[Federal Register: May 31, 2001 (Volume 66, Number 105)]
[Page 29586-29587]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Publication, Final Assessment Plan

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

ACTION: Notice of publication.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), on behalf of the 
Department of the Interior (DOI), as a natural resource trustee, 
announces the publication of the Final Assessment Plan (AP) for the 
Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration of the August 27, 
1998, Clinch River Chemical Spill, Tazewell County, Virginia. The Final 
AP describes the DOI's proposal to assess natural resource injuries 
that resulted from this chemical spill.

ADDRESSES: Requests for copies of the Final AP may be made to: John 
Schmerfeld, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Virginia Field Office, 6669 
Short Lane, Gloucester, Virginia 23061.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: John Schmerfeld, Environmental 
Contaminants Branch, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Virginia Field 
Office, 6669 Short Lane, Gloucester, Virginia 23061. Interested parties 
may also call 804-693-6694. Ext. 107, or send e-mail to 
john_schmerfeld@fws.gov 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. Upon entry of the spill into the 
river, the river turned a snowy-white color. After the spilled 
substance passed downstream, observers noted evidence of an extensive 
fish kill and the destruction of most aquatic organisms from the area 
of the spill extending to at least 6.6 miles downstream. The Clinch 
River ecosystem ranks among the top areas of freshwater biodiversity in 
the world, and, prior to the spill, the affected portion of the Clinch 
housed a unique and diverse freshwater mussel assemblage that included 
three species that are federally listed as endangered.
    Under the authority of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, 
Compensation and Liability Act of 1980, as amended (CERCLA), ``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 
    The Final AP presents the trustee's approaches for determining and 
quantifying natural resource injuries and calculating the damages 
associated with those injuries. By developing an AP, the trustee can 
ensure that the natural resource damage assessment will be completed at 
a reasonable cost relative to the magnitude of damages. This AP 
presents proposed assessment methodologies to potentially responsible 
parties, other trustees, affected agencies, and to the public, so that 
these groups can productively participate in the assessment process. 
The Final AP is being released in accordance with the Natural Resource 
Damage Assessment Regulations found at title 43 of the Code of Federal 
Regulations part 11.
    A notice of availability of the Draft AP was published in the 
Federal Register on June 1, 2000, (volume 65, number 106, page 35120). 
The notice of availability indicated that the 30-day public comment 
period would end on July 1, 2000; however, comments were received and 
considered past that date. Comments received concerning the Draft AP 
are documented in chapter 8 of the Final AP.
    The Draft AP indicated that a caged mussel study would be conducted 
as part of the damage assessment phase. After some consideration, the 
trustee determined that a pared-down translocation study was more 
appropriate due to a cost reduction of approximately 50 percent, a 
decreased probability of vandalism in the populated area, and 
indications that the sediment contaminant load in the impacted river 
reach has lessened over time. This change is considered to be minor and 
not of sufficient magnitude to warrant another 30 day public comment 
period. Details of the translocation study can be found in chapter 5 of 
the Final AP.
    Interested members of the public may request copies of the Final AP 
from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Virginia Field Office at 6669 
Short Lane, Gloucester, Virginia 23061. Additionally, the Final AP is 
available for review at the Tazewell County Main Library, 310 East Main 
Street, Tazewell, Virginia 24651, and the Tazewell County Library, 
Richlands Branch, 102

[[Page 29587]]

Suffolk Avenue, Richlands, Virginia 24641.
    Author: The primary author of this notice is John Schmerfeld, U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, Virginia Field Office at 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 (``CERCLA''), 42 U.S.C.

    Dated: May 8, 2001.
Linda J. Repasky,
Acting Regional Director, Region 5, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 01-13652 Filed 5-30-01; 8:45 am]