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Brazil: National Contingency Plan for Oil Pollution Incidents

(Oct. 30, 2013) On October 22, 2013, Brazil enacted Decree No. 8,127 (Decreto No. 8.127, de 22 de Outubro de 2013, PLANATO.GOV.BR), which launches a National Contingency Plan for oil pollution incidents in waters under national jurisdiction (Plano Nacional de Contingência para Incidentes de Poluição por Óleo em Águas sob Jurisdição Nacional – PNC). The PNC sets responsibilities; establishes the organizational structure; and defines guidelines, procedures, and actions for the purpose of enabling coordinated action by the organs of public administration and public and private entities, in order to expand the capacity for responding to oil pollution incidents that may affect the waters under national jurisdiction, minimize environmental damage, and prevent damage to public health (id. art. 1).

The organizational structure of the PNC includes a National Authority, an Executive Committee, a Monitoring and Evaluation Group, and a Supporting Committee (id. art. 4).

The Executive Committee will be coordinated by the Ministry of Environment, which will act as the National Authority (id. art. 5(sole para.)). The Ministries of the Environment, Mining and Energy, , and Transport, and the Ports Secretariat of the Presidency of the Republic, the Brazilian Navy, the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Natural Renewable Resources (Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e Recursos Naturais Renováveis – IBAMA), the National Petroleum, Natural Gas, and Biocombustibles Agency (Agência Nacional de Petróleo, Gás Natural e Biocombustíveis – ANP), and the National Civil Defense Secretariat of the Ministry of National Integration compose the Executive Committee (id. art. 5(I-VIII)). The Committee is responsible, among other things, for proposing guidelines for implementation of the PNC (id. art. 7(I)).

The Monitoring and Evaluation Group consists of representatives and alternates from the Brazilian Navy, IBAMA, and ANP (id. art. 8). The PNC establishes a position of Operational Coordinator, who is responsible for the immediate command of the actions taken following an oil pollution incident (id. art. 9(V)).

Decree No. 8,127 determines that if an oil pollution incident occurs on the high seas or in inland waters between the coast and the straight baseline from which the territorial sea is measured, the Brazilian Navy must be the Operational Coordinator (id. art. 9(sole para.)(I)). For oil pollution incidents that occur in inland waters, other than waters between the coast and the straight baseline from which the territorial sea is measured, the IBAMA must be the Operational Coordinator (id. at II). When an oil pollution incident occurs on underwater structures involving the drilling for and production of oil, the ANP must be the Operational Coordinator (id. at III).

Article 11 defines the composition of the Supporting Committee, and article 12 defines its duties, which include, inter alia, meeting the requests of the National Authority and of the Monitoring and Evaluation Group. (Id.)