Oil Pollution Act

Read Complete Research Material


The Oil Pollution Act & Torts

The Oil Pollution Act & Torts


After years of debate, the United States has adopted extensive new legislation to govern oil discharges or substantial threats of such discharges, on the navigable waters, adjoining shorelines or exclusive economic zone of the United States. Major accidental oil discharges—from the Exxon Valdex in Prince William Sound off Alaska, from the Mega Borg in the Gulf of Mexico, from the American Trader off the southern California coast, from a pipeline into New York harbor, and from other sources—created pressures for prompt legislative action to help prevent and remedy future catastrophes. The US Congress finally passed a compromise legislative package in early August 1990. President Bush signed the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 on 18 August 1990. The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 sets out a comprehensive new regime concerning oil pollution prevention, removal, liability, damages and penalties, applicable to incidents that occur after 18 August 1990. In France, there are more stringent liability legislations both in public and confidential justice, some of which ask for to severe impairment produced by things and other people to severe impairment produced by precise activities.

The act was designed to establish limitations on liability for damages resulting from oil pollution, to establish a fund for the payment of reparation for such damages, and for other purposes. Numerous other US maritime law and common law doctrines, and federal and state statutes governing water pollution, also continue in effect. The basic structure of the US liability regime for oil pollution, however, is now governed by the 1990 Act The new statute resolves a long standing controversy over whether the United States should choose to replace existing state and constitutional regulation with the 1969 International Convention on Civil Liability for damage caused by oil pollution (CLC) and the 1971 Convention on the Establishment of an International Fund for Reparation for damage caused by oil pollution (Fund Convention) as amended by the 1984 Protocols to these conventions. It is now clear that the United States will not join this treaty regime as it is presently constituted, for the Acts liability limits and other provisions differ significantly from those in the treaty regime.

Discussion and Analysis

The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 also resolves a dispute over whether constitutional regulation should pre-empt state law in the area of liability for oil pollution. The Act allows the laws of the individual states of the United States to apply in many situations; with the result that oil polluters may often be subject to liability laws containing no specified upper limits. The US Congress seriously considered implementing the CLC/Fund Convent ion regime as amended by the 1984 Protocols. At one point, the House of Representatives approved such a step, subject to the Senate's advice and consent and eventual ratification), but the Senate did not accept the House bill.

Oil pollution from both the routine operations of tank vessels and their accidents has become ubiquitous on a global scale, and relates to the proximity of ...
Related Ads