The Difference in an On-Scene Coordinator's Authority During a Terrorist Incident Response Under the National Response Plan Versus the National Contingency Plan

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Capstone Project

Degree Name

Master of Applied Science

Organizational Unit

University College, Environmental Policy and Management


Environmental Policy And Management

First Advisor

Timothy Gablehouse


Anthrax, Contingency, Incident command systems, National Contingency Plan, National Incident Management System, National Response Plan, September 11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001, September 11th, United States


The terrorist incidents of September 11, 2001 and the Anthrax incidents that followed changed the way that emergency response personnel respond to an emergency. Various agencies and entities that responded to these incidents had overlap of jurisdiction and authorities. In response to these terrorist incidents and the problems that occurred during the responses, President Bush signed the Homeland Security Presidential Directive Number 5 (HSPD-5) on February 28, 2003. In the HSPD-5, it stated that the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would create a National Incident Management System (NIMS) and a National Response Plan (NRP), to better streamline emergency responses and develop the mechanisms to ensure the response to a large domestic incident is handled correctly. These events completely changed how emergency responders would respond to a large domestic incident. The National Response Plan (NRP) incorporates the National Contingency Plan, the Federal Radiological Emergency Response Plan (FRERP), and the NIMS, and will only be activated in incidents of national significance. Incidents that will qualify as National Significance include the credible threats, indications or acts of terrorism within the U.S. Since the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) On-Scene Coordinators (OSCs) have the authority under the NCP to provide a coordinated federal response capability at the scene of an unplanned or sudden discharge of oil or hazardous substances that poses a threat to the public health or the environment. With the change in response protocol and authorities, the EPA OSCs wondered if they would continue to have their authority that they have under the NCP on a NRP response for a threat to the public health or the environment.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. Permanently suppressed.

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