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Environmental Activities of the U.S. Coast Guard

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Publication Date: May 2009

Publisher(s): Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service

Series: RS22145

Topic: Environment (Ocean and ocean resources)


The U.S. Coast Guard's (USCG's) environmental activities focus on prevention programs, accompanied by enforcement and educational activities. An important component is maritime oil spill prevention, which includes inspection of U.S. and foreign-flagged ships to ensure compliance with U.S. laws and international agreements. As required by the Oil Pollution Act and the Superfund law, the USCG's pollution preparedness and response activities aim to reduce the impact of oil and hazardous substances spills. USCG's National Pollution Funds Center manages the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, paying certain spill-related costs and certifying that vessels show evidence of financial responsibility. Another prevention effort, minimizing marine debris, addresses commercial items (e.g., lost nets and fishing lines), as well as trash from recreational fishing and boating (e.g., beverage cans and bottles and pieces of foam plastic). The FY2007 budget estimate for marine environmental protection was $332 million, a decrease of $55 million from the amount spent in FY2006. This report will be updated as warranted.