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Department of Commerce/NOAA Participates in an Exercise of the Spill of National Significance Strategic Coordination Call

JULY 12, 2021 ─ On June 24, OR&R Director Scott Lundgren represented Department of Commerce/NOAA in an exercise of the Spill of National Significance (SONS) Strategic Coordination Call (SSCC) held at the Operations Deputy-level. He was joined by other program staff and NOAA and Department of Commerce operations centers. 

Group of people assembled around a large conference table.
The SONS Strategic Coordination Call concept was discussed with senior executives in person and virtually during an executive seminar with senior government officials held in September 2020. Image credit: U.S. Coast Guard / Petty Officer 2nd Class Travis Magee.

The designation of a spill as nationally significant is made by the U.S. Coast Guard Commandant or EPA Administrator and facilitates the extraordinary coordination of resources needed to support complex containment and cleanup efforts due to a spill’s severity, size, location, and actual or potential impact. NOAA played many significant roles in the only declared SONS in the United States, the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill and response in the Gulf of Mexico. This timeline reflects key features of that incident and NOAA actions, and we have made many scientific advances in the decade since Deepwater Horizon relevant to future spills.

SONS processes are exercised regularly, and the new SSCC strategic call process was reviewed with senior agency officials at an executive seminar in 2020 as a suitable mechanism to rapidly convene the appropriate level of leadership during such spills. Following that seminar, NOAA worked with our parent Department of Commerce to affirm representation and internal coordination processes related to these strategic calls. The call on June 24 was part of a semi-annual test of the process as part of an overarching emphasis on unity of effort across the departments and agencies involved in national-scale spills.

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Last updated Tuesday, November 8, 2022 1:43pm PST