Date of Award

5-1987

Degree Type

Major Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs

Abstract

This study provides an examination of the existing United States Federal laws and international regimes regarding oil spill liability and compensation, and the manner in which they have been implemented by regulation and policy. The presentation concludes with discussion of and arguments concerning various proposed Federal comprehensive liability and compensation legislation. Emphasis is placed on the unsuccessful legislative proposals of the 99th Congress and the effects that similar legislation, if passed by the 100th congress, may have on current response policies and Federal and state governments. In particular, the effects of the proposed legislation on state's sovereignty and response operations are analyzed. Included are reviews of the Federal response organization, the various existing Federal and international oil spill liability and compensation regimes, and proposed comprehensive legislation. The results of the proposed comprehensive legislation are described in theory, including development of a Draft "Strawman" Agreement between the Federal Fund Manager, and state governments, as called for in the 99th Congress's proposed legislation. The arguments provides states direct access to the proposed Federal Oil Spill Fund. The incentive for this study was based on the threefold premise that: first, a comprehensive outline of the various existing Federal and international liability and compensation regimes was not available; secondly, until recently there have been very few published papers dealing with the 99th Congress's proposed legislation. There have not been any published papers dealing with the topic from an operational perspective; and finally, the Draft Agreement is intended to provide a starting point for discussion and negotiation for staff personnel that may be tasked with implementing that legislation in the future. The principal conclusion to be drawn from this study is that combining the various Federal laws into one comprehensive oil spill liability and compensation statute is possible, desirable and long overdue. The secondary conclusion is that the goal of implementing the international liability and compensation regimes in the united States, although desirable, may be impossible without preemption of state's rights or compromise positions that would complicate, rather than simplify the domestic and international mechanisms.