Survey Manual

515.1 - Environmental Compliance

This chapter establishes the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Environmental Program and defines program policies, requirements, and responsibilities.


OPR:  Office of Administration, Office of Management Services

Instruction: This chapter replaces the August 21, 2013 version.

1.  Purpose.  This chapter establishes the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Environmental Program and defines program policies, requirements, and responsibilities.

2.  Scope.  The USGS Environmental Program applies to all activities and operations of the USGS as well as its employees, volunteers, contractors, and visitors.  Components of the USGS Environmental Program include:

A.  Organizational Policy and Program Administration.  Develop organizational policy, plans, guidelines, and rules relating to the USGS Environmental Program; interpret environmental policy and procedures, including accountability of management and other personnel; establish councils, committees, and work groups to address environmental issues; and designate appropriate resources for effective implementation of the USGS Environmental Program.

B.  Standards.  Ensure personnel awareness of and accessibility to applicable policies, documents, codes, regulations, executive orders, and program standards.

C.  Environmental Program Assessment and Program Planning.  Perform annual evaluations of program elements, including personnel and financial resources, to provide management with information on program effort and effectiveness and to establish short- and long-term goals for program enhancement and implementation.

D.  Inspections.  Conduct operational and facility surveys, inspections, evaluations, and staff visits to identify environmental issues within the workplace and determine the level of organizational compliance with environmental standards.

E.  Risk Assessment and Mitigation.  Report, conduct root cause analysis, and provide recommendations to correct working conditions that may result in release of hazardous materials/wastes into different environmental media or result in violation of environmental laws.

F.  Incident Investigation, Reporting, and Analysis.  Investigate, report, and analyze incidents resulting in release or near misses to minimize potential to develop into a release of hazardous materials/wastes into different environmental media or violation of environmental laws; provide recommended corrective and preventive actions; and track corrective measures through abatement to prevent recurrence.

G.  Training.  Identify, develop, coordinate, schedule, and conduct required training for target audiences and provide professional development of personnel.

H.  Promotion and Awareness.  Ensure compliance with standards, regulations, and executive orders, promote awards and recognition programs, and develop environmental promotion and awareness plans.

I.  Air Quality Management.  Ensure compliance with air quality and emissions requirements from stationary, mobile, and area sources consistent with the Clean Air Act.

J.  Cultural Resource Management.  Ensure compliance with statutory requirements to protect historic and archaeological resources consistent with the National Historic Preservation Act and the Archaeological Resources Protection Act.

K.  Hazardous Materials Management.  Ensure proper storage and handling of hazardous materials and compliance with the spill contingency and response requirements related to hazardous materials.

L.  Hazardous Waste Management.  Ensure compliance with statutory requirements for hazardous waste management by identifying the hazardous waste management requirements necessary to ensure the protection of human health and the environment as per the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and applicable state and local regulations.

M.  Natural Resource Management.  Ensure compliance with procedural and statutory requirements for managing natural resources at USGS facilities.  This chapter summarizes the Natural Resource Management Program, which consists of land management, fish and wildlife management, forest management, and resource-based outdoor management.

N.  Pesticide Management.  Ensure compliance with legal use of pesticides at USGS facilities and compliance with environmental policies and regulations for pesticides as per Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.

O.  Solid Waste Management.  Ensure compliance with statutory and procedural requirements for solid waste disposal, waste minimization, recycling, and resource recovery requirements per Solid Waste Disposal Act, as amended by the RCRA.

P.   Storage Tank Management.  Ensure compliance with statutory requirements for underground storage tanks and aboveground storage tanks containing petroleum products and hazardous substances.

Q.  Toxic Substance Management.  Ensure compliance with requirements under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) for managing materials covered under TSCA, including polychlorinated biphenyl, asbestos, and lead containing materials.

R.  Wastewater Management.  Ensure compliance with wastewater quality and discharge limitations consistent with the Clean Water Act.

S.  Water Quality Management.  Ensure compliance with statutory requirements for the protection and conservation of drinking water and irrigation water resources.

T.  Other Environmental Issues.  Ensure that USGS programs comply with both statutory and regulatory requirements as per National Environmental Policy Act, environmental noise, and other regulations and Executive Orders.

U.  Contractor and Concessionaire.  Ensure that Contracting Officer Representatives incorporate and enforce appropriate Environmental Program compliance language in statements of work for contracts with concessionaires and other contractors.

V.  Volunteer and Public.  Make program guidance easily accessible/available to volunteers and the public.

3.  Authorities.

A.  The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, 42 U.S.C. §9601 et seq.

B.  Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. §7401-7671q, as amended.

C.  Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. §1251 et seq, as amended.

D.  Hazardous Materials Transportation Act, 49 U.S.C. §1801-1812.

E.  Oil Pollution Act, 33 U.S.C. §2701-2761.

F.  Atomic Energy Act, 42 U.S.C. §2011 et seq.

G.  Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response and Hazard Communication requirements under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, 29 U.S.C. §651 et seq.

H.  Pollution Prevention Act, 42 U.S.C. §13101 et seq.

I.  Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, 42 U.S.C. §6901 et seq.

J.  Safe Drinking Water Act, 42 U.S.C. §300f - 300j-26.

K.  Toxic Substances Control Act, 42 U.S.C. §2601 et seq.

L.  Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act, 42 U.S.C. §1101 et seq.

M.  Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. §1531 et seq.

N.  Energy Independence and Security Act, 42 USC §152 et seq.

O.  Energy Policy Act, 42 USC §13201 et seq.

P.  Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, 7 U.S.C. §136 et seq.

Q.  Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act, 16 USC § 1431 et seq. and 33 USC §1401 et seq.

R.  Noise Control Act, 42 U.S.C. §4901 et seq.

S.  Environment, Energy and Water Efficiency, Renewable Energy Technologies, Occupational Safety, and Drug Free Workplace, 48 CFR Part 23.

T.  Federal Compliance with Pollution Standards, Executive Order 12088.

U.  Superfund Implementation, Executive Order 12580.

V.  Federal Acquisition, Recycling and Waste Prevention, Executive Order 12873.

W.  Federal Compliance with Right-to-Know Laws and Pollution Prevention Requirements, Executive Order 12856.

X.  Amendment to Executive Order 12580, Executive Order 13016.

Y.  Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management, Executive Order 13423.

Z.  Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance, Executive Order 13514.

AA.  Implementing Instructions and Requirements for Executive Order 13423Council on Environmental Quality.

BB.  Environmental Quality Programs, Department of the Interior (DOI) Manual Parts 515-523.

CC.  Real Property Pre-Acquisition Environmental Site Assessments, 602 DM 2.

4.  Policy.  This chapter sets forth the policy for administering the USGS Environmental Program.  It is policy of the USGS to conduct its scientific and other activities in keeping with responsible stewardship of the environment and in compliance with applicable environmental laws and regulations. Furthermore, the USGS is committed to:

A.  Provide and maintain a workplace that minimizes adverse impact on environment.

B.  Include environmental protection as an integral part of every operation.

C.  Hold managers and supervisors accountable and provide them with recognition for successful implementation and management of the program within their scope of authority and responsibility.

D.  Establish and maintain a staff of environmental professionals and collateral duty environmental program coordinators at appropriate levels within the organization to advise management in the development and implementation of an effective environmental program.

E.  Require that no personnel be subjected to restraint, interference, coercion, discrimination, or reprisal for filing a report of violation of an environmental law or participating in the program.

F.  Provide personnel with the supervision, knowledge, and skills necessary to perform their assigned tasks in a manner that will minimize the adverse impacts on the environment.

G.  Require personnel and supervisors to identify and correct conditions which may result in release of hazardous materials/wastes into different environmental media, and to know and follow environmental laws and regulations.

H.  Use environmental committees, as appropriate, to enhance the USGS Environmental Program. (See the Environmental Program Requirements Handbook (515-1-H), SM 308.73, and SM 515.4.)

I.  Comply with applicable program requirements and adopted national consensus standards.

J.  Promote off-the-job environmental stewardship.

K.  Incorporate and enforce appropriate environmental performance clause(s) in contracts with concessionaires and contractors.

5.  Responsibilities.  The USGS Environmental Program responsibility is shared by all levels of supervision.  Specific responsibilities for establishing and implementing the USGS Environmental Program are detailed in Chapter 2, Environmental Program Requirements Handbook (515-1-H).

A.  Director.  

(1)  Ensures the establishment and implementation of a comprehensive environmental program.
(2)  Designates a Bureau Chief Sustainability Officer.  

(3)  Holds members of the Executive Leadership Team (ELT) accountable for fulfilling the requirements of the USGS Environmental Program.

B.  Associate Director for Administration.  

(1)  Serves as the Designated Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO), exercising delegated authority from the Director for the executive oversight of the USGS Environmental Program.  

(2)  Serves as the USGS representative on the DOI Sustainability Council and chairs the USGS Sustainability Council.

C.  Office of Management Services (OMS).

(1)  Develops USGS plans for environmental management, sets goals, establishes environmental performance metrics, collects performance and other data, measures progress against established benchmarks, and prepares reports about the environmental program as required by DOI.

(2)  Represents the USGS on matters regarding the environmental program before DOI and other parties.

(3)  Seeks the advice of the USGS Sustainability Council and other parties about formulating efforts to implement the environmental grants, gathering and sharing best environmental practices, and promoting the realization of goals of the environmental program.

(4)  Ensures that the requirements of the environmental program are integrated, wherever practicable, into oversight measures for USGS real property management activities.

(5)  Issues procedures, templates, schedules, and other instructions that are necessary to implement the provisions of this chapter.

(6)  Develops task specific environmental training for employees and others who require it, and establishes appropriate notifications and tracking to ensure that the training is accomplished.

(7)  Provides technical assistance and guidance.

(8)  Provides program support for implementing the environmental program and interprets policies, plans, programs, directives, procedures, and rules with regard to its environmental program.

(9) Conducts external compliance audit and provides feedback on compliance audit findings to the field offices.

D.  Associate and Regional Directors.

(1)  Coordinate the USGS Environmental Program implementation and ensure compliance within their respective organizations with regard to USGS and DOI requirements and the 515-1-H Environmental Program Requirements Handbook, as applicable.

(2)  Provide oversight and guidance on issues related to the implementation of the USGS Environmental Program in science projects and activities within their respective organizations.

(3)  Appoint personnel to provide advice and assistance in administering the USGS Environmental Program within their respective organizations/regions.

E.  Science Centers.

(1)  Implement an environmental program at their respective facilities, following the process established by the OMS.

(2)  Conduct mission operations in a manner consistent with the requirements of the environmental program.

(3)  Dedicate appropriate resources to gather and maintain environmental records and documents.

(4)  Dedicate appropriate resources to conduct routine inspections of work areas and abate identified deficiencies as soon as practicable.

(5)  Investigate all incidents resulting in release or near misses that may result in release of hazardous materials/wastes into the environment, including taking appropriate corrective action to preclude recurrence of similar incidents, and document incidents.

(6)  Dedicate appropriate resources to conduct internal compliance audits, and participate in external compliance audits.

(7)  Provide feedback on progress in developing and implementing corrective and preventive actions related to findings from the internal and external environmental compliance audits.

(8)  Provide or arrange for appropriate employee environmental training and education.

(9)  Provide for employee participation in the USGS Environmental Program without fear of restraint, interference, coercion, discrimination, or reprisal.

(10)  Designate a Collateral Duty Environmental Protection Coordinator (or other field-level personnel) to act as an agent of the Science Center Director to assist with implementing the environmental program.

F.  Employees.

(1)  Observe all precautions and practices applicable to their assignments that are protective of the environment. 

(2)  Report any conditions or procedures that may have potential to result in the violation of environmental rules and regulations to their immediate supervisors.

(3)  Report any accident or incident that results in violation of environmental rules and regulations to their supervisors.

(4)  Participate in all aspects of the USGS Environmental Program, including inspections, environmental committee activities, and Collateral Duty Environmental Program Coordinator activities, as appropriate.

(5)  Exercise rights and responsibilities as granted by the USGS Environmental Program without fear of restraint, interference, coercion, discrimination, or reprisal for reporting of conditions that result in violation of environmental rules and regulations.

(6)  Actively participate in environmental education and training activities.

G.  USGS Sustainability Council, Cross Functional Teams, and Other Work Groups and Committees.

(1)  The USGS Sustainability Council serves as an advisory body to the ELT and CSO on USGS Environmental Program matters.

(2)  Councils, committees, and work groups provide focal points for coordinating the USGS Environmental Program activities and for exchanging program information between headquarters, regional, and field-level managers and environmental personnel.

(3)  Assist the headquarters environmental personnel in developing drafts of environmental program guidelines and other documents.


/s/ Patricia Halseth for                                                                         April 18, 2016
______________________________________                    _________________________
Jose R. Aragon                                                                                    Date
Associate Director for Administration