Summary: H.R.1920 — 102nd Congress (1991-1992)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for H.R.1920. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in House (04/18/1991)

Antarctic Environmental Protection Act of 1991 - Amends the Antarctic Conservation Act of 1978 to require the Director of the National Science Foundation to: (1) prepare, periodically update, and implement a waste management plan for waste produced or disposed of in Antarctica by U.S. citizens; and (2) issue regulations requiring U.S. citizens in Antarctica to comply with specified waste management practices.

Requires the Director to establish a long-term program for the removal of specified wastes.

Requires the Director to implement an environmental education and training program for all persons engaged in the U.S. Antarctic Program.

Directs the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating to issue regulations requiring all vessels to: (1) install compaction, storage, and incineration equipment in the construction of any vessel built after the promulgation of such regulations; (2) stockpile waste, plastic, and other garbage (other than untreated sewage) outside of the Antarctic Treaty area or at U.S. facilities in Antarctica; (3) incinerate waste if stockpiling interferes with the operation of a vessel or affects the life and safety of the crew as long as such incineration is conducted in incinerators designed to eliminate harmful emissions; and (4) discharge waste, plastic, and other garbage at reception facilities outside of the Antarctic Treaty area.

Makes it unlawful for any U.S. citizen to charter, contract for, or employ a vessel unless such citizen has certified to the Secretary that the vessel will comply with the requirements of this Act. Makes it unlawful for any vessel or U.S. citizen to: (1) discharge hazardous substances into the Antarctic marine environment; (2) dispose of plastic or other garbage into such environment; and (3) dispose of food waste or discharge sewage within 12 nautical miles of the closest land or ice shelf.

Makes vessels used in the violation of this Act liable in rem for any civil penalty.

Requires U.S. citizens who discharge a hazardous substance into the Antarctic Treaty area, and owners or operators of vessels from which hazardous substances are discharged into such area, to remove the hazardous substance, restore the affected environment, and compensate persons for removal and restoration costs and damages. Directs the Secretary to issue regulations requiring potential dischargers to maintain evidence of financial responsibility to cover such costs and damages. Requires owners or operators of more than one vessel operating in such area to maintain financial responsibility only with respect to the vessel having the maximum potential for liability. Permits the Secretary to take the following actions with respect to vessels that do not produce evidence of financial responsibility: (1) deny the vessel entry to any U.S. facility in Antarctica; or (2) detain the vessel at the facility. Subjects vessels without evidence of financial responsibility at such facilities to seizure and forfeiture by the United States.

Directs the Secretary to issue regulations requiring owners or operators of vessels operating in Antarctica to submit plans for responding to substantial threats of a hazardous substance discharge into the Antarctic marine environment. Lists plan requirements. Prohibits vessels without approved plans from operating in the Antarctic Treaty area. Absolves the United States from liability for damages resulting from actions or omissions relating to response plans.

Requires the United States to retain civil penalties collected under this Act or restoration and removal costs and damages in a revolving trust account to be used for Antarctic Treaty area protection and for the environmental education and training of U.S. Antarctic Program personnel.

Adds violators of Antarctic marine pollution prevention and response requirements to the list of violators subject to civil penalties. Provides for increases in existing penalties.

Requires the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere to develop and implement an environmental monitoring program for Antarctica.

Directs the Administrator to: (1) inspect U.S. facilities in Antarctica biannually to assess compliance with this Act and obligations under the Antarctic Treaty; and (2) provide the results of such inspections to the public.

Requires regulations promulgated pursuant to the Antarctic Conservation Act of 1978 to include requirements for specially-protected areas. Establishes deadlines for the promulgation of specified regulations concerning: (1) the designation as pollutants of substances liable to create health hazards or harm Antarctica; and (2) actions to prevent or control the discharge of pollutants in Antarctica.

Applies the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 to all Federal activities in Antarctica.