U.S. Senator, Lisa Murkowski, has introduced the Foreign Spill Protection Act of 2016 which will hold foreign entities accountable for oil spills in US waters.
On Wednesday, May 18, office of Senator Murkowski stated that, through this Act, American taxpayers will not be stuck with the bill if oil from a foreign spill spreads into American waters.
It is further said that, as the law currently stands, responsible parties would only face up to $1 billion in damages for oil spills that originate in other countries’ waters and eventually impact American waters.
This bill will amend the Oil Pollution act (OPA) of 1990 by making it possible to hold a foreign entity responsible for claims arising from pollution incidents.
“Sadly we know from personal experiences in Alaska just how devastating oil spills can be. As shipping and activity in the Arctic increases, we must ensure America’s interests are protected. Our economy relies heavily on the health of our waters. This common-sense bill will make sure that those responsible for causing a spill are responsible for cleaning it up,” said Senator Murkowski.
She said she was committed to doing all she could to protect Alaskan communities for having to pay for costly clean-up efforts.
“This legislation is not only good for the health of the environment, but also the well-being of the nation’s taxpayers,” Murkowski added.
The bill updates OPA ’90 by defining a liable responsible party for oil spills in areas “located seaward of the exclusive economic zone, including facilities located in, on, or under any land within a foreign country.”
Until the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska had been place where the largest oil spill in the U.S. had happened. In 1989, Exxon Valdez, an oil tanker on its way to Long Beach, California, ran aground at Prince William Sound’s Bligh Reef in Alaska, and spilled over 11 million gallons of oil, across 1,300 miles of coastline.
According to NOAA Fisheries, even today, pockets of crude oil remain in some locations, and there is evidence that not all resources injured by the spill have recovered to the previous state.
Offshore Energy Today Staff