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Environmental Responders from U.S. and Canada Practice Emergency Procedures in Vanceboro, Maine

Release Date: 09/10/2008
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – Sept. 10, 2008) - Tomorrow in Vanceboro, Maine emergency responders from the United States and Canada will simulate an environmental emergency to practice cross border emergency response procedures.

The exercise, called CROSSBO TWO 2008, is being held to test portions of the “Canada/United States Joint Inland Pollution Plan – Annex 5” which was signed in October 2005 and last exercised in Woodstock, New Brunswick in 2006.

Coordinated between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Environment Canada, the State of Maine, the Province of New Brunswick and various other Canadian and U.S. governmental agencies, the practice response will occur in Vanceboro and/or their respective home offices to coordinate responding to an environmental emergency.

The exercise scenario involves a simulated train derailment which affects the Saint Croix River (which is the international border), and will simulate the first 12 hours of an incident, testing the various emergency operations centers in both countries.

“It is extremely important to work with all responders – including the various local, state and federal agencies and departments on both sides of the border – during these types of exercises to be ready in case there is a real incident,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England Office. “This particular exercise will test our ability to disseminate information from a remote location to emergency operations centers in the respective countries.”

EPA and Environment Canada developed the Joint Inland Pollution Plan in order to enhance response techniques in the event of a spill or accidental release of hazardous materials along the international border. The Plan outlines cooperative measures for responding to spills that may cause damage to the environment or threaten public health, welfare or property.

There are five regional annexes or operational plans within the comprehensive Inland Plan. Annex 5, or CANUSEAST, pertains to the inland boundary between the State of Maine and New Brunswick, Canada. This Annex was signed in October 2005 and requires the two agencies to hold biennial exercises to verify the plan’s procedures. CROSSBO TWO 2008 will be the second exercise since the Annex was signed.

More information:
Canada - United States Joint Inland Pollution Contingency Plan (http://epa.gov/ne/superfund/er/pdfs/246667.pdf)