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EPA’s Role in Emergency Response

Each year, thousands of emergencies involving oil spills or the release (or threatened release) of hazardous substances are reported in the United States. Emergencies range from small scale spills to large incidents requiring prompt action and evacuation of nearby populations.

EPA’s emergency response program responds to oil spills, chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear incidents and large-scale national emergencies, including homeland security incidents. EPA provides support when requested or when state and local first responder capabilities have been exceeded. Through coordinating and implementing a wide range of activities, EPA conducts removal actions to protect human health and the environment. This is done by either funding response actions directly or overseeing and enforcing actions conducted by potentially responsible parties.

In carrying out these responsibilities, EPA coordinates with other EPA programs (including the Superfund remedial program), other federal agencies, states, tribes, and local governments. This coordination is done through On-Scene Coordinators and EPA's Special Teams.

For additional information on recent emergencies and cleanup activities, please visit Emergency Response and Management Activities.

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