Title 43: Public Lands: Interior
Subtitle A: Office of the Secretary of the Interior
PART 11: NATURAL RESOURCE DAMAGE ASSESSMENTS
Subpart B: Preassessment Phase
11.23 - Preassessment screen?general.
(a) Requirement. Before beginning any assessment efforts under this part, except as provided for under the emergency restoration provisions of ? 11.21 of this part, the authorized official shall complete a preassessment screen and make a determination as to whether an assessment under this part shall be carried out.
(b) Purpose. The purpose of the preassessment screen is to provide a rapid review of readily available information that focuses on resources for which the Federal or State agency or Indian tribe may assert trusteeship under section 107(f) or section 126(d) of CERCLA. This review should ensure that there is a reasonable probability of making a successful claim before monies and efforts are expended in carrying out an assessment.
(c) Determination. When the authorized official has decided to proceed with an assessment under this part, the authorized official shall document the decision in terms of the criteria provided in paragraph (e) of this section in a Preassessment Screen Determination. This Preassessment Screen Determination shall be included in the Report of Assessment described in ? 11.90 of this part.
(d) Content. The preassessment screen shall be conducted in accordance with the guidance provided in this section and in ? 11.24?Preassessment screen?information on the site and ? 11.25?Preassessment screen?preliminary identification of resources potentially at risk, of this part.
(e) Criteria. Based on information gathered pursuant to the preassessment screen and on information gathered pursuant to the NCP, the authorized official shall make a preliminary determination that all of the following criteria are met before proceeding with an assessment:
(1) A discharge of oil or a release of a hazardous substance has occurred;
(2) Natural resources for which the Federal or State agency or Indian tribe may assert trusteeship under CERCLA have been or are likely to have been adversely affected by the discharge or release;
(3) The quantity and concentration of the discharged oil or released hazardous substance is sufficient to potentially cause injury, as that term is used in this part, to those natural resources;
(4) Data sufficient to pursue an assessment are readily available or likely to be obtained at reasonable cost; and
(5) Response actions, if any, carried out or planned do not or will not sufficiently remedy the injury to natural resources without further action.
(f) Coordination. (1) In a situation where response activity is planned or underway at a particular site, assessment activity shall be coordinated with the lead agency consistent with the NCP.
(2) Whenever, as part of a response action under the NCP, a preliminary assessment or an OSC Report is to be, or has been, prepared for the site, the authorized official should consult with the lead agency under the NCP, as necessary, and to the extent possible use information or materials gathered for the preliminary assessment or OSC Report, unless doing so would unnecessarily delay the preassessment screen.
(3) Where a preliminary assessment or an OSC Report does not exist or does not contain the information described in this section, that additional information may be gathered.
(4) If the natural resource trustee already has a process similar to the preassessment screen, and the requirements of the preassessment screen can be satisfied by that process, the processes may be combined to avoid duplication.
(g) Preassessment phase costs. (1) The following categories of reasonable and necessary costs may be incurred in the preassessment phase of the damage assessment:
(i) Release detection and identification costs;
(ii) Trustee identification and notification costs;
(iii) Potentially injured resource identification costs;
(iv) Initial sampling, data collection, and evaluation costs;
(v) Site characterization and preassessment screen costs; and
(vi) Any other preassessment costs for activities authorized by ?? 11.20 through 11.25 of this part.
(2) The reasonable and necessary costs for these categories shall be limited to those costs incurred by the authorized official for, and specifically allocable to, site-specific efforts taken during the preassessment phase for assessment of damages to natural resources for which the agency or Indian tribe is acting as trustee. Such costs shall be supported by appropriate records and documentation and shall not reflect regular activities performed by the agency or Indian tribe in management of the natural resource. Activities undertaken as part of the preassessment phase shall be taken in a manner that is cost-effective, as that phrase is used in this part.
[51 FR 27725, Aug. 1, 1986, as amended at 53 FR 5173, Feb. 22, 1988]