When a spill poses public safety and property threats via potential fires, explosions, toxic clouds, or other means, local officials are usually in command of the incident. The party responsible for the incident is required to cooperate with and aid the local police and fire agencies. At some facilities, the responsible party conducts the response; at other facilities and in transportation incidents where the responsible party may not have the specialized capability to address an incident, public agencies direct the response. If highly specialized activities such as off-loading tank cars or repackaging hazardous chemicals are required, the responsible party may implement the actions under the general direction of the local public safety commander.

In most States, the role of State agencies in public safety response during the early stages of an incident is to provide technical advice to local commanders as soon as possible. For spills occurring within an Indian reservation, the Tribe may be the primary responder for incidents at which an RP fails to act, or the Tribe may rely on local or State responders by prior agreement. During major incidents, State and Federal authorities may be able to provide additional assistance to the local commander at the spill scene by

  • conducting sampling and analysis of chemicals,
  • providing specialized contractors or equipment, or
  • providing detailed advice or other supporting functions.

Seldom will State or Federal authorities assume command from a local fire or police commander for short-term, on-site, public-safety-related issues.


A number of State and Federal programs require parties who are responsible for a spill to investigate and remedy all related environmental and health threats. Often these actions include activities on properties owned by third parties or public agencies. The actions usually begin somewhat later than the public safety protection response but can continue for a much longer period. The actions may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • placing containment and recovery booms and pads,
  • sampling runoff and rivers,
  • excavating soil,
  • sampling smoke,
  • performing hydrogeological investigations,
  • wildlife rescue and rehabilitation,
  • closing drinking water intakes, and
  • providing an alternate water supply.

Sometimes an RP is unable or unwilling to adequately or quickly undertake the environmental and health protection actions required by State or Federal authorities. In those cases, State or Federal authorities can assume a more direct role. Usually this is done through investigation or cleanup contractors using governmental funds, such as State or Federal Superfunds or the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund (OSLTF). The costs of these direct government actions will usually be recovered later from the responsible party. The decision to assume governmental control of environmental and health follow-up of an incident is dependent on

  • the ability and willingness of the responsible party to respond effectively,
  • the severity of the incident,
  • the cost and duration of required actions, and
  • the resources available to the various levels of government.

The following sections describe the federal response efforts shared by OSCs, Regional Response Team, federal agencies, and subarea contingency plans.


The Federal OSC directs Federal response efforts and coordinates all other Federal efforts at the scene of a discharge or release. The OSC may monitor local, Tribal, State, or private actions to remove a discharge, and may provide technical assistance to local, Tribal, State, or RP response personnel.

If a response action is being conducted through local, Tribal, State, or responsible party efforts, the OSC will ensure adequate oversight. If local, Tribal, or State agencies or the responsible party cannot or will not initiate action to eliminate the threat, or if the removal is not being conducted properly, the OSC should advise the government agency or responsible party and take appropriate actions to mitigate or remove the threat or discharge.

When the OSC has determined that a discharge poses or may present a substantial threat to public health or welfare, he/she is authorized by the NCP to direct all private, State, or Federal actions to remove the discharge or to mitigate or prevent the threat of such a discharge. In addition, the OSC may remove or arrange for the removal of the discharge to mitigate or prevent the substantial threat of the discharge; the OSC may remove and, if necessary, destroy a vessel that is discharging or threatening to discharge, without regard for any other provision of law governing contracting procedures or employment of personnel by the Federal Government (40 CFR 300.322).

Upon receipt of notification of a discharge or release, the OSC is responsible for conducting a preliminary assessment to determine the following items:

  1. threat to human health and the environment;
  2. the responsible party and its capability to conduct the removal; and
  3. feasibility of removal or the mitigation of impact.

OSC responsibilities in the event of a discharge or release include the following items:

  1. Coordinate with appropriate Federal Agencies and funding to permit timely removal actions;
  2. Notify the appropriate State and Federal Agencies. OSC notification responsibilities are discussed in further detail in subsection 2.10 of this plan (p. 31).
  3. Determine whether proper response actions have been initiated. If the party responsible for the release or spill does not act promptly in accordance with the directions of the OSC or does not take appropriate actions, or if the party is unknown, the OSC shall respond in accordance with provisions of the NCP and agency guidance, and coordinate activities as outlined in this RCP/ACP.
  4. Collect information concerning the discharge or release:
    • its source and cause;
    • potentially responsible parties;
    • the nature, amount, location, direction, and time of discharge;
    • pathways to human and environmental exposure;
    • potential impact on human health, welfare, and safety, and the environment;
    • possible impact on natural resources and property;
    • priorities for protecting human health and welfare and the environment; and
    • estimated cost for the response.
  5. Certifying the financial responsibility of vessel owners and operators.
  6. Consult with and inform the RRT5 members of reported discharges and releases through Pollution Reports in Message Format (POLREPs).
  7. Consult with the appropriate Regional or District office regarding situations potentially requiring temporary or permanent relocation. In the event of a declared Federal disaster, coordinate with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO) as appropriate.
  8. Implement appropriate community relations activities.
  9. Address worker health and safety issues prior to and during a response operation, and comply with all worker health and safety regulations.
  10. Coordinate with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), as deemed necessary, regarding possible public health threats.
  11. Coordinate with the US EPA Office of Radiation and Indoor Air (ORIA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) in emergencies involving radiological hazards.

As requested by the NRT or RRT5, the OSC shall submit to the RRT5 a complete report on the removal operation and the actions taken. The report shall record:

  • the situation as it develops,
  • the actions taken,
  • the resources committed, and
  • the problems encountered.

Regional Response Teams are responsible for regional planning and preparedness activities, as well as for coordination of assistance and advice to the OSC during site-specific incidents. The Co-Chairs of RRT5 are the Chief of the Emergency Response Branch, US EPA Region 5 and the Incident Management and Preparedness Advisor (IMPA), Ninth Coast Guard District. The RRT5 membership includes representatives from each State appointed by the Governor, and the designated regional representatives of the following Federal Agencies:

Federal RRT5 member agencies have duties established by Statute or Executive Order that may apply to Federal response actions following or in prevention of a discharge of oil or a release or threat of release of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. The RRT5 also functions as the Area Committee for Inland Region 5.

The principal components of the RRT5 are a standing RRT and incident-specific RRTs. The standing RRT consists of designated representatives from each participating Federal Agency listed above and each State. Each incident-specific RRT is formed from the standing team when the RRT is activated for a response, and consists of representatives of appropriate local governments, State agencies, and Federal Agencies.

Each member agency should designate one member and at least one alternate member to the standing RRT. Agencies whose regional subdivisions do not correspond to the standard Federal Regions may designate additional representatives to the standing RRT to ensure appropriate coverage of the standard Federal Region. Federally recognized Native American Tribal governments may arrange for representation on the RRT. Other interested parties may attend and observe RRT meetings. The usual process by which the RRT reaches its decisions is by consensus. However, in instances where a decision is reached by means of a vote, the voting capacity of each Federal member agency and other RRT member organizations is limited to one vote per member agency or organization.

The first Federal official affiliated with an RRT agency to arrive at the scene of a discharge or release, provided they have the proper training, should coordinate activities under the NCP, this RCP/ACP , and agency guidance until the predesignated OSC is available. That Federal official should consult directly with the predesignated OSC regarding any necessary initial actions. Fund-financed operations must be authorized by the OSC prior to implementation.


Subarea Contingency Plans help coordinate timely and effective responses by private industry, local and state officials and various federal agencies to minimize damage resulting from releases of oil or hazardous materials in the Subareas.

They include:

  • Chicago
  • Greater St Louis
  • Great Rivers
  • Quad Cities
  • Indianapolis
  • Northwest Indiana
  • Patoka
  • Detroit / Southeast Michigan
  • Northern Michigan
  • Western Michigan
  • Western Upper Peninsula
  • Duluth / Western Lake Superior
  • Minneapolis / St Paul
  • Red River
  • Siouxland
  • Cincinnati
  • Cleveland / Central Lake Erie
  • Huntington
  • Southeast Ohio / Upper Ohio River Western Lake Erie
  • Toledo / Western Lake Erie
  • Green Bay / Horicon Marsh
  • Milwaukee
  • Upper Mississippi River Spill Response Plan
  • Ohio River Umbrella Plan

The Governor of each State in Region 5 is requested to designate a lead agency that will direct State-led response operations. This agency is responsible for leading State response actions and coordinating/communicating with any other State agencies as appropriate (NCP 300.180). Each Governor will also designate a representative for the State on the RRT5. Each State representative may participate fully in all activities of the RRT5. The State RRT5 representatives are expected to coordinate with the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) or State Emergency Response Board (SERB) in their States in order to communicate and coordinate preparedness and pre-response planning activities between the State and the RRT5. State and local government agencies are encouraged to coordinate with:

  • State contingency planning efforts for response to oil and hazardous material events
  • this plan
  • requirements of SARA Title III

Section 311(j)(4) of CWA calls for inclusion of local, Tribal, and State representatives on the Area Committee. In US EPA Region 5, this has been partially accomplished through the designation of the RRT5 as the Area Committee.

Each State in Region 5 has a State disaster plan and laws that specify that State’s authority and organization for a technical response to environmental emergencies. All States can provide technical expertise to assess environmental and public health threats and damage, as well as to advise local responders. In specific circumstances, States may provide additional response capabilities in the form of contractors and funding.

The following are summaries of emergency preparedness measures for lead agencies in each of the States in Region 5.


The Illinois 24-hour spill notification number is to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), 217-782-7860 (800-782-7860 in Illinois). The phone number during office hours is 217-782-7860. After office hours, call IEMA to speak with the Duty Officer. Illinois EPA Responsibilities

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) provides the designated RRT5 member for Illinois. To prevent and abate environmental pollution, IEPA has various responsibilities for responding to environmental emergencies within the State or its adjoining waters. IEPA is the State’s lead agency for developing plans and coordinating action before, during, and after certain emergency situations, including:

  • emergencies involving waste management
  • emergencies involving public water supplies
  • spills of oil or hazardous materials upon waters or lands of the State
  • releases of harmful quantities of toxic substances to the atmosphere

Within IEPA, the Emergency Response Unit (ERU) of the Office of Chemical Safety is responsible for coordinating the agency’s response and ensuring appropriate cleanup of any subsequent environmental contamination. ERU collects information about environmental emergencies and responds directly and/or notifies other divisions within IEPA of needed action. Technical expertise is provided to first responders and public officials, addressing such issues as:

  • physical, chemical, and toxicological characteristics of the materials involved
  • effective response and treatment actions
  • precautions to be taken to prevent further injury or damage to public health or the environment Other Agencies—Illinois

Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA): Serves as coordination and communications center for Illinois State agencies and is in overall command of emergency government efforts during major multijurisdictional disaster responses. IEMA is also the SERC, designated pursuant to SARA Title III.

IEMA Division of Nuclear Safety : Responds to incidents involving radioactivity, whether in transport or at nuclear power plants or other facilities.

IDNR Office of Mines and Minerals : Carries out initial investigation of incidents involving crude oil and natural gas production sites, unless waters of the state are being impacted (in which case the role is assumed by IEPA).

Illinois State Fire Marshall : Responds to incidents involving underground storage tanks (USTs); this responsibility is shared with IEPA. Has the authority to require equipment inspection and testing.

Illinois Commerce Commission: Investigates incidents involving railroad transport, has authority over the use, movement, and compliance of railroad equipment with U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations.

Illinois State Police: Responds to transportation incidents involving DOT Hazardous Materials, responsible for enforcement of DOT shipping regulations, traffic control, and security.

Illinois Department of Natural Resources: Responsible for assessment of natural resource damage in incidents involving serious environmental injury, such as fish kills and oiled waterfowl.

Other agencies serve a secondary role and provide technical support and resources as needed. However, they do not generally maintain an emergency response capability for on-scene response. These agencies include the Departments of Agriculture, Public Health, and Energy and Natural Resources; the Office of the Attorney General; and other human service agencies that might be involved with evacuees, should a prolonged incident occur requiring relocation of the general public.


Spills can be reported to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) 24 hours a day at 888-233-7745. Indiana DEM Responsibilities

Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) provides the designated member of the RRT5 for Indiana and is the lead agency for the State in addressing spills, providing a 24-hour response capability. IDEM must provide technical assistance to the responsible party and the responding personnel and ensure compliance with Indiana spill regulations and other pertinent State and Federal rules and regulations.

Technical assistance can take the following forms:

  • chemical identification, handling, and hazard information
  • evaluation of the threat to environmental and public safety
  • personal protection recommendations
  • containment and cleanup methods
  • resource identification and location

For large spills, or where the spiller fails to respond adequately, IDEM staff responds onsite to assist in the response effort, assuming the role of State OSC if necessary.

During a response, staff of the Emergency Response Section (ERS) of IDEM assume the role of technical advisers and provide on-scene assistance to the responsible party, and to individuals or agencies involved in the response. On occasion, ERS staff have assumed a role that would appropriately be called OSC. However, if a structure (e.g., ICS) that exists within a local or County jurisdiction provides an OSC and that OSC is being utilized, ERS staff will provide assistance to that OSC.

Once the immediate threat to public health and the environment has been dealt with, the incident is further stabilized and cleaned up under ERS supervision. Rule 327 IAC 26.1, Spills: Reporting, Containment, and Response, requires that the spiller report to IDEM and perform a spill response. A spill response means that a spill is contained and free material is removed or neutralized. Disposal of recovered material that is classified as waste is referred by ERS staff to appropriate personnel in the Office of Solid and Hazardous Waste Management. ERS staff may then conduct a follow-up investigation to ensure that material has been disposed of properly and the cleanup is acceptable. Other Agencies—Indiana

The role of liaison between a spiller and the different program areas of IDEM is perhaps the greatest benefit that ERS can provide to those involved in a spill. This role can also extend to other State agencies and other response organizations. State agencies:

Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS): IDHS is the lead planning agency for coordinating man-made and natural disasters. IDHS also provides an alternate member for the RRT5.

Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM): OSFM responds to fire and explosion hazards from hazardous materials incidents.

Office of the Indiana State Chemist (OISC): OISC provides technical guidance regarding agricultural chemical incidents including fertilizers and pesticides. It also conducts investigations of improper application of regulated agricultural chemicals.

Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR): DNR Conservation Officers conduct investigations to assess damages to natural resources, such as fish kills.

DNR, Oil and Gas Division (O & G): DNR O & G regulates oil production facilities, including operation, maintenance, construction and abandonment of oil wells and associated equipment.

Indiana State Police (ISP): ISP investigates transportation incidents involving DOT hazardous materials, enforces DOT shipping regulations, and provides traffic control and site security.

Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH): ISDH is the lead agency for releases of radiological and etiological materials. It also provides technical guidance to IDEM regarding health issues and advisories.

Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT): INDOT usually provides traffic control for major transportation incidents involving releases of petroleum and hazardous materials. ERS also coordinates with other program areas within IDEM, as well as local response agencies such as fire departments, hazardous materials teams, sheriffs’ departments, local emergency planning committees (LEPCs), emergency management agencies, county health departments, and county highway departments.


Spill emergencies can be reported to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Pollution Emergency Alerting System. 24-hour in-state number: 800-292-4706. Alternate/out-of-state number: 517-373-7660 Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Responsibilities

Michigan’s representation on RRT5 comes from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) . MDEQ is the primary environmental emergency response agency in the State in all non-agricultural-related spills. Recent legislation has designated the Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) as the primary response organization, in close association with MDEQ, in spills involving agricultural chemicals.

Staff of MDEQ can be notified of oil and hazardous materials incidents via the Pollution Emergency Alert System (PEAS) at (800) 292-4706 (in-state) or (517) 373-7660.

MDEQ has approximately 19 full-time equivalent field positions available to respond to complaints and environmental emergencies. Most of these positions are located in the nine Field Operations Districts operated by MDEQ, which are situated throughout the State. The primary response role of MDEQ is one of technical advisor. These personnel are responsible for complaint investigation and emergency spill response and generally oversee the environmental aspects of spill containment, control, and mitigation. Appropriately trained staff within MDEQ can provide hands-on response with absorbents and skirt boom if the situation requires this type of response. It is anticipated, however, that all "first responder" response will be conducted by local units of government and the various Hazardous Material Response Teams located throughout the State, although predominantly in the lower third of the peninsula.

Environmental mitigation associated with material spills will generally be conducted by the RP. If the RP cannot be identified or is reluctant to adequately address mitigation needs, the State can hire contractors to perform the mitigation. A limited amount of money is available through funds administered by the MDEQ Environmental Response Division. The State can also access the Federal fund administered under ERT in accordance with Federal guidelines and regulations.

Michigan has a responder immunity act.

MDEQ, in conjunction with the Department of Attorney General, is the designated Natural Resources Trustee for the State. Other Agencies—Michigan

Michigan State Police (MSP): The MSP Emergency Management Division (EMD) serves as the designated emergency/disaster response coordination agency for the State and as the primary State contact point in the event of a declared disaster resulting in the activation of the State Emergency Management Plan.

Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA): MDA is the lead agency in spill responses involving agricultural chemicals and/or fertilizers.

Michigan Emergency Response Commission (MERC): MERC is the primary coordination agency and liaison with the local Emergency Planning Commissions throughout the state. MERC is co-chaired by MSP-EMD and MDEQ.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR): MDNR is the lead agency for the State in decisions involving fish and wildlife issues during a spill response working cooperatively with the MDEQ State OSC.


Spills can be reported to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) 24 hours a day at 800-422-0798. Alternate contact number during business hours: 651-296-6300. Spills can also be reported to the Minnesota Duty Officer at 651-649-5451. Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Responsibilities

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) provides the designated member of RRT5 for Minnesota. MPCA is the primary State responder to spills and other emergencies involving hazardous materials (with the exception of incidents involving pesticides and fertilizers, which are under the jurisdiction of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture). All of the following information describing State emergency response therefore assumes MPCA actions for general hazardous materials incidents, but applies to the Department of Agriculture for all pesticide and fertilizer incidents. The State Department of Public Safety Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management has 11 local hazardous materials teams under state contract to provide for chemical assessment and mitigation when requested by a local incident commander.

MPCA’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) includes 12 full-time ERT members whose primary duty is to monitor the cleanup of spills and other emergency situations that pollute or threaten to pollute surface or ground water. By default, they also respond to reports of other environmental emergencies (e.g., air releases, illegal hazardous waste disposal, tire dump fires). In addition to receiving release reports, the ERT may perform field inspections at spill sites, provide technical assistance to responsible parties, or carry out enforcement actions for violation of State laws and rules.

If necessary, ERT staff will proceed to the site to provide coordination and assistance in handling the emergency. This may include taking charge of the response if the responsible party is unknown or unavailable. In situations where public safety is the primary consideration, the ERT member does not take charge of the incident, but assists the fire chief or other public safety officials at the scene. This assistance may include emergency waiver or suspension of State laws and rules (e.g., allowing emergency wastewater discharges or burning of a spilled product in order to minimize overall environmental damage). The assistance may also include activation of contractors using State funds.

Minnesota Statute Chapter 115E requires companies handling oil and hazardous substances to act to prevent releases and to be prepared for releases they may have. Chapter 115E requirements are similar to OPA but cover protection of the public’s safety and the environment, and pollution of the land, air, and waters of the State. A facility operator is to notify the Department of Public Safety when their plan is completed, and must supply a copy upon request. ERT staff actively inspect the prevention capabilities and preparedness of major facilities and will assist facility owners if requested. They conduct enforcement if the preparedness of a facility is found to be inadequate, especially if it contributed to a release or poor response.

Both Minnesota Statute Chapter 115E and State Superfund Chapter 115B contain language providing immunity to those responding to oil or hazardous substance discharges. Other Agencies—Minnesota

Minnesota Department of Public Safety: Operates the 24-hour-per-day Duty Officer System to take incident reports for all State agencies.

Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM):: HSEM coordinates the actions of State agencies, including MPCA, Natural Resources, Transportation, Public Safety, and Health. HSEM conducts training for State and local responders, and reviews county emergency plans. HSEM conducts the Right-to-Know programs in the State.


Spills in Ohio can be reported to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency at 800-282-9378. Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Responsibilities

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) is the designated representative of RRT5 for Ohio. OEPA is also the State agency charged with investigating releases of oil and hazardous substances from both fixed and mobile facilities. Ohio’s spill response program is housed in the Emergency Response Unit (ERU), which is a part of the Division of Emergency and Remedial Response. This unit, which is responsible for receiving reports of releases to all environmental media, uses 15 spill responders to aid in chemical identification, containment, cleanup, public safety, and the identification of responsible parties. If a responsible party cannot be identified or is recalcitrant, the ERU can activate a level-of-effort contractor to initiate actions to contain or clean up the spill. Spills can be reported 24-hours-a-day at 800-282-9378. Ohio has enacted no laws specifically related to responder immunity in environmental emergencies but it has enacted both a Good Samaritan Statute and a "General Duty Clause" that applies to State employees. Other Agencies—Ohio

Several different State agencies have areas of expertise to contribute during a spill, and in the case of such an event, operate under a cooperative agreement that outlines the activities of the signatory agencies when a spill occurs. These agencies are:


Spills can be reported to the Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) 24-hour emergency hotline at 1-800-943-0003. Emergency Response to Oil Spills and Hazardous Materials Incidents

The primary agency representative to the RRT5 for Wisconsin is theWisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) with alternate representation from Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) . WDNR is responsible for developing and updating a State Contingency Plan addressing spill response. The agency is responsible for

  • Receiving notifications of releases
  • Identifying the responsible party
  • Ensuring that appropriate measures are being taken by the responsible party to address public safety
  • Containment, clean up, and remediation a release. When a responsible party is unknown, or unable or unwilling to take appropriate actions, a WDNR representative may activate a Zone Contractor to take necessary actions.

WEM administers the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act (EPCRA) in the State, and also administers eight Level A Regional Hazardous Materials Response Teams. This agency also coordinates resources for overall emergency management and provides hazardous materials training classes for all levels of responders. WEM operates a 24-hour emergency hotline that has a voice prompt directing spill calls to WDNR. WEM also serves as the lead State agency for consequence management of terrorism events. Other Agencies – Wisconsin

Department of Health and Family Services (DHFS): DHFS is responsible for monitoring the effects of chemical spills on public health and for providing assistance to local public health authorities.

Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP): DATCP responds to spills of agrichemicals and coordinates with WDNR on remediation issues.

Wisconsin State Patrol (WSP): WSP enforces State hazardous materials transportation regulations and can be involved in the initial response to transportation-related spills.


The initial focus of tribal responders during an incident may be similar to that of local responders:  directed toward abating immediate public safety threats. The degree of tribal response will depend upon the training and capabilities of tribal responders relative to the needs of the specific emergency. In some cases, this may be using hazard awareness training knowledge to identify the nature and scope of the hazard. This information is then passed on to other responders who are activated to address the situation with specific expertise and/or capabilities. Tribal agencies may take mitigating actions of a defensive nature to contain the incident and protect the public.
There are currently 35 federally recognized tribal governments in Region 5. As set forth in the 1984 EPA Indian Policy, "EPA recognizes tribal governments as sovereign entities with primary authority and responsibility for the reservation." The Indian Policy also states that EPA "will view tribal governments as the appropriate non-federal parties for making decisions and carrying out program responsibilities affecting Indian reservations, their environments, and the health and welfare of the reservation populace." EPA works with each tribe on a one-to-one or "government-to-government" basis. Visit EPA.gov to see a list of tribes and links to further information:  www.epa.gov/tribal/region-5-tribal-program


A major role of tribal government agencies during emergency incidents on a reservation is providing security for on-scene forces and equipment. For large incidents, help may be requested through Federal or State emergency management agencies. This includes establishing local liaison with reservation hospital, emergency services, and police personnel, as well as restricting entrance to hazardous areas to only essential personnel.
Response capabilities of Tribes in Region 5 vary. Some tribes may be able to provide technical expertise to assess environmental and public health threats and damage, as well as to advise local responders. Summaries of emergency preparedness capabilities for individual Tribes in Region 5 are included in sections following as information becomes available. Omission of a tribe here should not be taken as an indication of lack of response capability or readiness. Contact names for individual tribes are included in the appendices to this plan.
Tribes are natural resource trustees for resources on tribal reservations and resources protected by treaties (including ceded territories). Tribes designate contacts for notification purposes. Federal OSCs should note these may be different individuals than those shown as the contact for spill notification for other than natural resource impacts.
Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (THPOs) are available to advise responders when response actions may impact tribal historical or cultural resources. If impacts on such resources are identified, the response should be adjusted to protect those resources where feasible and if time is available.
Responses by Federal OSCs to environmental emergencies within a reservation are conducted in consultation with the Tribe. Notification of tribal natural resource trustees about a spill or notification of THPOs about a proposed response action does not meet obligations to consult with the Tribe. Consultation is defined by EPA or USCG policy, and responders and decision-makers from each agency will adhere to their agency’s policy. The EPA Consultation Policy, the Guidance, related documents, and answers to frequently asked questions may be found at www.epa.gov/tribal.
The USCG Consultation Policy of Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments under Executive Order 13175 can be found at the following link:
The Chair of each Tribe in Region 5 should designate a lead staff person to direct Tribal response operations. This tribal lead is responsible for coordinating and communicating with other Tribal agencies, as appropriate (NCP 300.180). Tribes may form a Tribal Emergency Response Commission (TERC) or the Tribal Chair may serve as a one-person TERC under SARA Title III. Individual Tribes also may choose to coordinate with a SERC (or SERB in Minnesota) and/or with LEPCs. Each Tribal Chair may also designate a representative for the Tribe on the RRT5. Each Tribal representative may participate fully in all activities of the RRT5.


Information about emergency responses for the Bay Mills Indian Community is available in the Bay Mills Indian Community factsheet.

Information about emergency responses for the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians is available in the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians factsheet.

Information about emergency responses for the Hannahville Indian Community is available in the Hannahville Indian Community factsheet.

The Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan is a consortium of Michigan's Federally Recognized Tribes.

Information about emergency responses for the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community is available in the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community factsheet.

Information about emergency responses for the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Indians is available in the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Indians factsheet.

Information about emergency responses for the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians is available in the following factsheets:

The Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians has a signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Emmet County Emergency Management Agency, which also covers Cheboygan and Charlevoix Counties, and with Northwest Michigan Community Health Agency. The Tribe is a member of the County’s Emergency Center. The Tribe has five first responders trained in the 40-hour HazMat training certification course. They are the only trained and certified HazMat responders in the three-county area.

Information about emergency responses for the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians is available in the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians factsheet.

Information about emergency responses for the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians is available in Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band factsheet.

Information about emergency responses for the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi is available in the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi factsheet.

Information about emergency responses for the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians is available in Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians factsheet.

Information about emergency responses for the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe is available in Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe factsheet.

Information about emergency responses for the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians is available in the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe factsheet.


Responsible parties (RPs) for spills occurring within the reservation and on off-reservation Band properties shall report the incident to the Mille Lacs Band Department of Public Safety, Emergency Management Coordinator via cell phone 763-360-2729 (available 24/7) or pager 320-202-4123 (available 24/7).

Non-tribal RPs may also choose to report the spill by contacting the State of Minnesota Duty Officer at 651-649-5451 and 800-422-0798 (in-State long distance), who will notify the Mille Lacs Band Department of Public Safety Emergency Management Coordinator. This reporting option does not waive any jurisdictional claims that may be made by the 1855 Mille Lacs Reservation government.

The 1855 Mille Lacs Reservation tribal government has an established Tribal Emergency Response Committee (TERC). The Emergency Management Coordinator (EMC) under the Director of Public Safety is responsible for providing information to the TERC, which has overall direction and control of Reservation government resources involved in the response to an emergency within the reservation. The EMC also serves as primary liaison with the Mille Lacs County, Aitkin County and Pine County Emergency Management Directors. The 1855 Mille Lacs Reservation tribal government has regional Emergency Management mutual aid agreements in place with the above three counties as well as Tribal Police agreements with Mille Lacs and Pine Counties. During a major disaster, the Reservation’s Emergency Operating Center (EOC) will be activated to direct and control the Reservation’s response.

The 1855 Mille Lacs Reservation government has approximately 36 full-time staff available to respond to or monitor response to spills and environmental emergencies. These positions are in the Department of Public Safety and Department of Natural Resources and Environment.

The primary response role of the 1855 Mille Lacs Reservation government is intergovernmental coordination, oversight and advice. The above personnel are responsible for complaint investigation and emergency spill response and generally oversee the environmental aspects of spill containment, control, and mitigation, in conjunction with other nontribal responders. If necessary, ERT staff will proceed to the site to provide coordination and assistance in handling the emergency. Appropriately trained staff within the 1855 Mille Lacs Reservation government can provide hands-on response with air, water, soil collections and testing. It is anticipated, however, that all initial spill response will be conducted by emergency responders from local units of government and/or the RP. Environmental mitigation (after the initial response) associated with material spills will generally be conducted by the RP.

Under the authority granted by U.S. Presidential Executive Order 13084, signed in 2000, the 1855 Mille Lacs Reservation tribal government implemented an Emergency Operations Response Program to coordinate initial response efforts for releases. All response and cleanup conducted within the reservation and on off-reservation Band properties must be done in accordance with Mille Lacs Band statutes 11 MLBSA §§ 11 and 101-128.

The Commissioner of Natural Resources is the designated Natural Resources Trustee for the Tribe in accordance with Mille Lacs Band statute 11 MLBSA §2002 and the Chief Executive is the trustee for all Reservation Resources in accordance with Mille Lacs Band statute 4 MLBSA §6.

Overall direction from an oil or hazardous materials spill comes from the unified command system used by the TERC. The reservation has its own Tribal Police Department and fire response comes from off-reservation fire departments.

Since tribal ownership of land inside and outside the Reservation is very checker-boarded, the tribe follows the NIMS incident command system in which response starts with Reservation first. If the tribe expends all of its resources and staff, the tribe may choose to request assistance from federal, state, and local authorities and resources.

The Minnesota Chippewa Tribe is a consortium comprised of the Bois Forte, Fond du Lac, Grand Portage, Leech Lake, Mille Lacs, and White Earth reservations.


The Federal OSC for a given incident is determined by the point of origin of the release. However, if a discharge or release affects areas covered by two or more RCPs/ACPs, the response mechanisms of both may be affected. In this case, response actions of all Regions concerned shall be fully coordinated as detailed in the RCPs. 

There shall be only one OSC at any time during the course of a specific response operation. Should a discharge or release affect two or more areas, US EPA, USCG, DOD, DOE, or other lead agency, as appropriate, shall give prime consideration to the area vulnerable to the greatest threat, in determining which agency should provide the OSC. The RRT shall designate the OSC if the RRT member agencies that have response authority within the affected area are unable to agree on the designation. The NRT shall designate the OSC if members of one RRT or two adjacent RRTs are unable to agree on the designation. 

Where USCG has initially provided the OSC for response to a release of hazardous materials located in the coastal zone, responsibility for response shall shift to US EPA, DOD or DOE as appropriate.

Several interregional entities have been established that have interests within Region 5 and have roles in response and planning.  The entities vary considerably in their concerns and capabilities. The following is a list of these interregional organizations.