[Federal Register: May 8, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 89)]
[Page 30947-30948]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Availability, Initial Restoration and Compensation 
Determination Plan (RCDP) for the August 27, 1998, Clinch River 
Chemical Spill in Tazewell County, VA

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

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), on behalf of the 
U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), announces the release for public 
review of the Initial Restoration and

[[Page 30948]]

Compensation Determination Plan (RCDP) for the August 27, 1998, Clinch 
River Chemical Spill in Tazewell County, Virginia. The RCDP describes 
the trustee's proposal to restore natural resources injured as a result 
of a release of hazardous substances.

DATES: Written comments must be submitted on or before June 30, 2002.

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

Wildlife Service, 6669 Short Lane, Gloucester, Virginia 23061. 
Interested parties may also call 804-693-6694 x107 for further 

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 
aquatic benthic macroinvertebrates for about 6.6 miles downstream. 
Using a conservative correction factor, an estimated 18,600 or more 
freshwater mussels were killed by the spill, including 750 individuals 
of 3 federally endangered mussel species. This spill is likely the 
single largest take of federally listed endangered species since the 
enactment of the Endangered Species Act. This spill destroyed one of 
the last two known remaining reproducing populations of the critically 
endangered tan riffleshell mussel.
    Under the authority of the Comprehensive Environmental 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 NRDA 
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 injured or lost resources.
    The DOI is the sole acting federal natural resource trustee for 
this case. The DOI has designated the FWS to act as its authorized 
official with regard to this case. An assessment plan (AP) was 
developed by the FWS with public input in April 2001. The AP outlined a 
set of studies that were designed to identify and quantify natural 
resource injuries that resulted from the August 27, 1998 release. The 
assessment phase of this NRDA has been completed and the results of all 
injury assessment studies have been reviewed by the FWS. This RCDP has 
been developed in order to publish the results of the injury assessment 
studies and to consider a number of restoration alternatives that will 
make the public whole again for their natural resource loss. Cost 
estimation methodologies and general environmental consequences of each 
restoration alternative are considered and a preferred restoration 
alternative is proposed. The proposed preferred alternative includes 
propagation of freshwater mussels, riparian habitat protection, and 
community education.
    Interested members of the public are invited to review and comment 
on the RCDP. Copies of the RCDP are available for review at the FWS's 
Virginia Field Office in Gloucester, Virginia and at the FWS'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 RCDP.
    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 (CERCLA) of 
1980 as amended, commonly known as Superfund, (42 U.S.C. 9601 et 
seq.) and the Natural Resource Damage Assessment Regulations found 
at 43 CFR, part 11.

    Dated: April 24, 2002.
Mamie A. Parker,
Regional Director, Region 5, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, DOI 
Designated Authorized Official.
[FR Doc. 02-11364 Filed 5-7-02; 8:45 am]