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Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

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Presentation on theme: "Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill"— Presentation transcript:

1 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

2 Quick Facts Occurred April 20th, 2010, 50 miles off coast of Louisiana
Drilled in 5,100 feet of water to a depth of 35,000 feet Released approximately 4.9 million barrels of oil (210 million gallons) Settled criminal charges with DOJ including 11 counts manslaughter, and 1 felony count of lying to Congress ($4.525 billion settlement. Oil being cleaned up with booms, dispersants, and oil-eating microbes



5 Which Laws Govern? Oil Pollution Act of 1990
National Environmental Policy Act Clean Water Act

6 Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (“OPA 90”)
Passed by Congress following Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 Amended Section 311 of the Clean Water Act to govern oil Consolidates federal environmental statutes, such as Endangered Species Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Refuse Act, etc. $75 million liability ceiling unless gross negligence or willful misconduct (waived by BP) Creates Oil Spill Trustee Council Addresses natural resource damages through NRDA

7 National Environmental Policy Act
Followed a blowout at Union Pacific Oil Platform off Coast of Santa Barbara, California Established the Council on Environmental Quality in the Executive Office of the President Sets forth environmental reviews and requires impact statements for actions taken by the federal government (including cleanup)

8 Clean Water Act Prohibits discharge of pollutants into navigable waters of United States Being used by Justice Department to sue BP civilly Penalties of Administered by DHS/EPA Penalties: $37,500 per day of violation or $1,100 per barrel of oil Gross negligence: $140,000 per day of violation or $4,300 per barrel

9 Who Is In Charge? OPA 90 Trustee Council
Department of Homeland Security Environmental Protection Agency National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

10 OPA 90 Trustee Council Serves as a legal group of trustees, including federal, state and tribal representatives Trustees typically chosen by the governors of the affected states Administers National Resources Damage Assessment

11 Alexander, Kristina. The 2010 Oil Spill: Natural Resource Damage Assessment Under the Oil Pollution Act. Rep. no. R Washington D.C.: Congressional Research Service, 2010.

12 Department of Homeland Security
National Incident Commander named after Title 40 “Spill of National Significance” Most actions taken through the U.S. Coast Guard Considered an interest of national security Directed National Response Teams pursuant to Clean Water Act

13 Environmental Protection Agency
Responsible for cleanup of oil that lands on the coast Collects land-based samples and monitors marshes and wetlands Is administering the NEPA environmental impact statements

14 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Collects scientific data in the form of water sampling, satellite imagery and animal death statistics Has cooperative authority along with USCG Responsible for monitoring the leaking of oil after well capped

15 How Is Damage Calculated?
OPA 90’s NRDA Process: Preassessment Phase Restoration Planning Phase Restoration Implementation Phase

16 Preassessment Phase Involves establishment of jurisdictional areas of the Trustee Council Notification of responsible parties Gathers information regarding injuries to environment and persons Collects scientific data from cooperating agencies

17 Restoration Planning Phase
Currently being applied Calls for Public Notice and Comment Calls for injury assessment and developing restoration alternatives

18 Restoration Implementation Phase
Administrative record closed Present a demand to responsible parties Responsible parties respond within 90 days Responsible parties must agree or sue May establish future committees to oversee long-term monitoring



21 Source: The International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation Limited
Source: The International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation Limited. Fate of Marine Oil Spills. Tech. no. 2. London: International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation Limited, Print.

22 How Is BP’s Liability Limited?
Can sue owner of the rig (Transocean) for indemnification Insurance for blowout and some costs of cleanup Not eligible for tax deductions

23 The End

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