Originally published in 1973 under the authority of §311 of the Clean Water Act, the Oil Pollution Prevention regulation sets forth requirements for prevention of, preparedness for, and response to oil discharges at specific non-transportation-related facilities. To prevent oil from reaching navigable waters and adjoining shorelines, and to contain discharges of oil, the regulation requires these facilities to develop and implement Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plans and establishes procedures, methods, and equipment requirements (Subparts A, B, and C). In 1990, the Oil Pollution Act amended the Clean Water Act to require some oil storage facilities to prepare Facility Response Plans. On July 1, 1994, EPA finalized the revisions that direct facility owners or operators to prepare and submit plans for responding to a worst-case discharge of oil (Subpart D).

In 1988 the EPA formed the SPCC Task Force to examine federal regulations governing oil spills from above ground storage tanks. The SPCC Task Force recommended that EPA clarify certain provisions in the Oil Pollution Prevention regulation, establish additional technical requirements for regulated facilities, and require the preparation of facility-specific response plans. In response to the Task Force recommendation, EPA proposed revisions to the Oil Pollution Prevention regulation in the 1990s and finalized the amendments in 2002. EPA has since amended the SPCC requirements of the Oil Pollution Prevention regulation to extend compliance dates and clarify and/or tailor specific regulatory requirements.