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RULE §19.18Audits, Drills, and Inspections To Determine Prevention and Response Capability

(a) An audit is a full review of a facility's or vessel's compliance with the requirements of OSPRA and regulations adopted pursuant thereto. An audit may be announced or unannounced. Audits will be commenced between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. The owner and/or operator of the facility or vessel subject to audit must produce records related to unauthorized discharges of oil into coastal waters, discharge prevention and response plans, equipment inventory, maintenance and repair, safety data sheets for oil handled, oil storage and throughput, financial responsibility, personnel certification and training, and daily records and other documents and records containing information relevant to compliance with OSPRA. The representative of the GLO is authorized to view all equipment at the facility that is available for responding to unauthorized discharges of oil. The GLO representative is authorized to enter any portion of the facility and vessel where oil is handled or stored, where discharge prevention and response equipment and supplies are stored and maintained or where oil transfer operations are being performed. Although the audit may be unannounced, prior to entering the facility, the GLO representative will make a reasonable effort, as defined in §19.3(a) of this title (relating to Inspections and Access to Property), to obtain the consent of the owner or operator or his representative.

(b) An inspection is a review of a specified area or areas of a facility or vessel for a specified purpose. An inspection may be announced or unannounced. Inspections between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. may be unannounced. Inspections after 6:00 p.m. and before 7:00 a.m. will be announced. The GLO will make a reasonable effort to obtain the consent of the owner or operator or a representative of either prior to entering property to conduct the inspection. At the commencement of the inspection, the GLO representative will inform the owner or operator of the area or areas to be inspected and the purpose of the inspection. The areas and purposes of an inspection are limited to those set forth in subsection (a) of this section.

(c) A drill is a test of equipment and personnel in operation. A drill is in response to a mock discharge which is conducted by GLO representatives who determine the extent and parameters of the exercise. A drill may be announced or unannounced. Prior to entering property in order to conduct the drill, the GLO will make a reasonable effort to obtain consent of the owner or operator or representative of either to enter the property. Drills will be commenced between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. and all drills involving vessels will be conducted in cooperation with the United States Coast Guard. A drill involving a facility will be conducted in cooperation with any other governmental agencies whom the GLO intends to involve in the mock operation.

(d) A vessel or facility will not be subjected to more than a total of two audits and/or GLO conducted drills in one 12-month period. This limitation will not apply to any vessel or facility that has violated OSPRA, any regulation promulgated thereunder, or any order of the commissioner.

(e) The owner or operator of the vessel or facility must bear its own costs of the audit, drill, or inspection and may not be reimbursed its costs from the fund. The GLO may, however, pay all or part of the cost of an oil spill drill under limited circumstances. The GLO's decision to pay for a drill will be based on a determination that the facility is located in an environmentally sensitive area and has been involved in a greater number of spills or requires more complex audits or drills because of its location. If the GLO pays for any part of the cost of the drill, the GLO will invite other facility operators in the vicinity to observe or participate in the drill for training purposes.

(f) Performance of an audit, drill, or inspection does not estop the state in an action brought under OSPRA or any other law from alleging a violation of OSPRA or any such law.

Source Note: The provisions of this §19.18 adopted to be effective February 21, 1992, 17 TexReg 1109; amended to be effective March 6, 1995, 20 TexReg 1261; amended to be effective October 30, 2002, 27 TexReg 10037; amended to be effective August 9, 2020, 45 TexReg 5364

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