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                                                       Calendar No. 466
104th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE

 2d Session                                                     104-292
_______________________________________________________________________


 
           OIL SPILL PREVENTION AND RESPONSE IMPROVEMENT ACT

                                _______
                                

                 June 26, 1996.--Ordered to be printed

_______________________________________________________________________


    Mr. Chafee, from the Committee on Environment and Public Works, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            ADDITIONAL VIEWS

                         [To accompany S. 1730]

    The Committee on Environment and Public Works, to which was 
referred the bill (S. 1730), to amend the Oil Pollution Act of 
1990 to make the Act more effective in preventing oil pollution 
in the Nation's waters through enhanced prevention of, and 
improved response to, oil spills, and to ensure that citizens 
and communities injured by oil spills are promptly and fully 
compensated, and for other purposes, having considered the 
same, reports favorably thereon with an amendment and 
recommends that the bill do pass.

                           General Statement

                               background

The Oil Pollution Act of 1990

    The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA) was signed into law by 
President Bush on August 18, 1990. The Act established for the 
first time a comprehensive Federal oil spill response and 
liability legislative framework and ushered in several landmark 
reforms. First of all, it strengthened measures for oil spill 
prevention by requiring all oil-carrying tank vessels over 
5,000 gross tons constructed after 1990 to have double-hulls, 
phasing out operation of all oil-carrying single hull tank 
vessels, and requiring the Coast Guard to issue interim spill 
prevention rules for single-hull vessels.
    Second, OPA increased the financial consequences of oil 
spills. It expanded the scope of polluter liability by imposing 
strict liability for the clean-up costs and damages that result 
from an oil spill. OPA also raised the liability limit for 
vessels. It provided that the higher limit could be superseded, 
however, if the responsible party engaged in gross negligence, 
willful misconduct, or violated any applicable Federal safety, 
construction, or operating regulation.
    Third, OPA strengthened oil spill response capabilities and 
advanced planning. It expanded the items for which compensation 
could be obtained from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund 
(Fund). It established a new planning and response system, 
which included the National Response Unit, U.S. Coast Guard 
Strike Teams, 10 Coast Guard District Response Groups, and Area 
Committees. OPA also mandated preparation of Area Contingency 
Plans as well as an approved vessel response plan for each oil-
carrying vessel.
    Finally, OPA facilitated access to funds to ensure prompt 
and complete recovery for damages arising from an oil spill. It 
established the following categories of claimants and damages 
for which compensation is available from a responsible party: 
(1) any claimant, for loss of profits or impairment of earning 
capacity; (2) the government, acting as a public trustee for 
injured natural resources; (3) owners of real or personal 
property, for economic losses arising from destruction of their 
property; (4) a person who relies on injured natural resources 
for subsistence, for injury to such resources; (5) the 
government, for losses in tax revenue arising from a spill; and 
(6) the government, for net costs of providing additional 
public services as the result of cleaning up a spill. It also 
expanded the items for which compensation could be obtained 
from the $1 billion Fund.

The North Cape spill

    On January 19, 1996, a barge, the North Cape, ran aground 
off the southern coast of Rhode Island. Despite strong efforts 
by the U.S. Coast Guard and others, the grounding resulted in 
the largest oil spill in Rhode Island's history. The damage to 
the marine environment was extensive. Much of the spilled oil 
washed up onto nearby beaches, along with the carcasses of many 
fish, birds, and thousands of lobsters.
    In response to the North Cape spill, the committee held two 
oversight hearings to assess the implementation of Federal oil 
pollution laws. The first hearing was held on February 14, 1996 
in Narragansett, RI, and the second hearing was held on March 
27, 1996 in Washington, D.C. The committee learned from the 
hearings that although OPA has brought about faster and more 
effective spill response since its enactment, there is room for 
improvement.
    The general consensus of the testimony was that equipping 
oil-carrying tank vessels with double hulls is the single most 
effective means of reducing the risk of a spill by such 
vessels. Witnesses recommended other prevention measures, such 
as operable anchors, manned barges, and emergency barge 
retrieval systems. The Coast Guard was admonished for still not 
having issued final rules establishing interim measures to 
reduce the risk of oil spills by single-hull vessels until 
their mandatory phase-out under OPA (hereafter, final interim 
single-hull vessel spill prevention rules). These rules were 
required to be issued under OPA nearly five years ago.
    The other set of issues that emerged during the hearings 
related to oil spill response. Many of the witnesses criticized 
the lack of coordination and expedition with which agencies 
acted in determining the scope and timing of closing and re-
opening of fishing grounds after the North Cape spill. 
Fishermen and lobstermen injured by the spill found it 
difficult to secure short-term financial assistance under 
current law. Other witnesses questioned the availability of the 
$1 billion Fund for assessment and restoration of ecological 
resources injured as a result of the North Cape spill. Finally, 
concern was expressed about the need for better coordination in 
response activities among officials representing different 
geographic regions potentially affected by the spill.

                       Congressional Legislation

    On May 7, 1996, Senator Chafee, chairman of the committee, 
introduced S. 1730, the Oil Spill Prevention and Response 
Improvement Act. On June 4, the committee held a hearing on the 
bill.
    On June 18, the committee began consideration of the bill. 
Two days later, on June 20, S. 1730 as amended was ordered 
reported by a vote of 17 to 0.

                           Summary of S. 1730

    As amended and approved by the Committee on Environment and 
Public Works, the bill includes four titles. Title I includes 
measures to enhance oil spill prevention measures. Title II 
improves the response to the environmental and economic 
injuries from oil spills that will, inevitably, still occur. 
Title III clarifies the financial responsibility requirements 
for offshore facilities. Title IV makes several technical 
changes to OPA.

                  title i--enhancing spill prevention

    Title I enhances oil spill prevention measures in several 
ways. It guarantees that measures establishing structural and 
operational spill prevention requirements for single-hull 
vessels, as well as a final towing safety rule, will be in 
effect by the end of calendar year 1996. It also provides an 
incentive for shippers to convert their fleets to double-hull 
vessels before the deadline established in OPA. Specifically, 
the bill includes the following changes to current law:
    Coast Guard rules--If the Coast Guard fails to issue final 
interim single-hull vessel spill prevention rules by dates its 
witnesses testified it could meet (July 18, 1996, for 
operational measures and December 18, 1996, for structural 
measures), the bill triggers into effect automatically 
previously issued proposed rules containing such measures. The 
final interim rules the Coast Guard ultimately does issue are 
to include a requirement that applicable vessels have at least 
one of the following: (1) a crew member and operable anchor on 
board; (2) an emergency barge retrieval system on board; or (3) 
comparable safeguards to prevent grounding. The rules also must 
establish minimum under-keel clearance requirements for single-
hull vessels for each port and certain waters in which such 
vessels operate.
    Incentive to convert to double-hull vessels--Operators of 
tank vessels equipped with double-hulls at the time of 
enactment of this Act or double-hull vessels converted from or 
replacing a single-hull vessel at least 5 years before the 
statutory deadline in OPA will be entitled to a lesser 
liability limit than provided by current law. Operators of such 
vessels will be liable for damages in excess of OPA's statutory 
liability cap only if they engage in gross negligence or 
willful misconduct.
    Towing safety rule--The Coast Guard is required to issue a 
final towing safety rule by September 30, 1996. The final rule 
is to require: (1) an emergency fire suppression system or 
other fire protection equipment on board, (2) an on-board 
electronic position-fixing device, and (3) operator-conducted 
inspections of navigational and operational equipment at 
regular intervals.
    Other prevention measures--The bill directs the following 
agencies to perform oil spill prevention studies: (1) the 
Secretary of Transportation, in coordination with the Marine 
Board, to study how the designation of waters and shipping 
lanes affects spill risks; and (2) the U.S. Army Corps of 
Engineers, to review the forthcoming report by the Governor of 
Rhode Island's task force on dredging. The bill also interposes 
a standard for lightering regulations required under current 
law that ensures the rules will provide for substantial 
environmental protection.

               Title II--Improving Response to Oil Spills

    Title II contains amendments that build upon the response 
measures provided in OPA. The principal purpose of the 
amendments is to reduce or redress the economic hardship and 
environmental damage caused by an oil spill. Title II includes 
the following specific changes to current law:
    Short-term financial assistance--The bill clarifies current 
law to ensure that injured parties can pursue partial claims 
immediately following an oil spill without waiving their right 
to full compensation for future losses.
    Fishing grounds--The National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration (NOAA), in consultation with other affected 
state and Federal agencies, is required to develop a framework, 
including model protocols and standards, for the closing and 
re-opening of fishing grounds affected by an oil spill.
    Natural resource damages--The recent Comptroller General's 
opinion that OPA does not provide for the Fund to pay costs of 
natural resource damage trustees arising from a damage 
assessment without a separate appropriation of Congress is 
overturned. The amount that may be disbursed from the Fund not 
subject to annual appropriation is raised from $50 million to 
$60 million.
    Mitigation of ecological injury--The bill strengthens the 
environmental response provisions in current law. It ensures 
access to the Fund for the costs of mitigating ecological 
damage immediately following an oil spill and for the costs of 
plugging idle oil wells. It also directs the agencies to 
establish a national scientific support team and information 
clearinghouse to enhance responses to the environmental effects 
of oil spills.
    Response plans--The bill strengthens the current law's 
requirements for compliance with applicable response plans in 
the event of a spill. It does so by providing that such plans 
be followed unless deviation would provide for a more 
expeditious or effective response to an oil spill or mitigation 
of its effects.

                  Title III--Financial Responsibility

    Title III amends the financial responsibility requirements 
of OPA for offshore facilities. First, it establishes $35 
million as the amount of financial responsibility required for 
offshore facilities. The President may raise this amount (up to 
$150 million) if the President determines that any of the 
various risks posed by the facility justify doing so. Second, 
Title III clarifies that land-based fuel-receiving terminals 
and marinas are not offshore facilities for the purpose of the 
financial responsibility requirements in OPA.

                     Title IV--Technical Amendments

    Title IV clarifies that OPA applies to the Trust Territory 
of the Pacific Islands and corrects other minor non-substantive 
errors inadvertently contained in OPA as passed.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

                  title i--enhancing spill prevention

Section 101. Interim oil spill prevention measures for single-hull 
        vessels

    The Coast Guard is almost five years behind OPA's deadline 
for issuing final interim single-hull vessel spill prevention 
rules. This delay has undermined the purposes of subsection 
4115(b) of OPA, which are to enhance safe operation of single-
hull vessels and to better protect the marine environment 
pending their replacement with double-hull vessels as required 
by OPA.
    Section 101 will ensure that such purposes are met by 
providing for the expeditious adoption of a series of rules to 
reduce the risk of an oil spill by single-hull tank vessels 
until such vessels are phased out under OPA. The section will 
ensure that certain of these rules, which OPA required to be 
issued by August 1991, are in effect by mid-July 1996 and the 
full complement no later than the end of the year.
    The bill accomplishes this result by amending subsection 
4115(b) of OPA to provide that, if the Secretary fails to issue 
final rules for single-hull vessels over 5,000 gross tons by 
certain dates, previously published proposed rules will go into 
effect automatically and apply until issuance of new final 
interim rules. In particular, if the Secretary does not issue 
and have in effect operational measures for single-hull vessels 
by July 18, 1996, a proposed rule for such measures published 
in 1995 will go into effect. Similarly, if the Secretary fails 
to promulgate a final structural rule for such single-hull 
vessels by December 18, 1996, the section provides that the 
proposed 1993 structural rule would go into effect.
    A concern raised with respect to the proposed 1993 
structural rule is that certain of its requirements actually 
might increase oil outflow in the event of a spill. Section 101 
therefore gives the Secretary the flexibility to forestall the 
effectiveness of any of the provisions of the 1993 proposed 
rule upon a finding that the provision would likely increase 
the risks of oil pollution. Any such finding(s) must be 
published in the Federal Register by the date the proposed rule 
otherwise would be triggered into effect.
    Section 101 also requires the Secretary to include certain 
measures in the final interim single-hull vessel spill 
prevention rules. First, single-hull vessels must have at least 
one of the following: (1) a crew member and operable anchor on 
board; (2) an emergency barge retrieval system on board; or (3) 
comparable structural or operational measures to protect 
against grounding. Second, the Coast Guard is directed to 
establish an under-keel clearance with which single-hull 
vessels must comply for each local port or place of destination 
or the inland or coastal waterway through which the vessels 
pass. To ensure timely issuance of the rules, the provision 
gives the Coast Guard the discretion to include these 
requirements in the final structural rule to be issued in 
December 1996 if necessary.
    Finally, Section 101 clarifies the standards under which 
the Coast Guard is to issue interim rules for single-hull 
vessels. This section clarifies that OPA requires adoption of 
not only those measures determined to be the most cost-
effective, but of any that meet the relevant statutory 
criteria. Moreover, the Coast Guard is to give due 
consideration to human safety and measures that prevent 
collisions and groundings in addition to those which reduce oil 
outflow after a spill has commenced.

Section 102. Incentives for shippers to convert single-hull vessels to 
        double-hull cessels

    OPA contains limits on liability for dischargers of oil 
that vary depending upon the kind and size of the entity 
responsible for the spill. For example, the cap for a tank 
vessel of 3,000 gross tons or more is the greater of $10 
million or $1,200 per gross ton. These limits do not apply if 
the discharge was was the result of either: (1) gross 
negligence or willful misconduct; or (2) violation of an 
applicable Federal safety, construction, or operating 
regulation.
    Section 102 amends subsection 1004(c) of OPA as it applies 
to the liability of double-hull vessel operators. It does so by 
specifically limiting the circumstances under which OPA's 
liability cap can be exceeded. Under this bill, violation of a 
regulation will no longer be a basis for exceeding the 
statutory liability limits for any vessel that is equipped with 
a double hull at the time of enactment of this Act or that 
converts to a double hull at least five years before the 
conversion deadline in OPA.
    Even as amended by this section, however, oil shippers that 
operate double-hull vessels will still be Federally liable 
under OPA for damages in excess of the statutory liability cap 
if their spill was caused by gross negligence or willful 
misconduct.
    Double hulls play a key role in spill prevention. While 
requiring shippers to convert immediately to double hulls would 
decrease the risks of oil spills by tank vessels, it also would 
place an enormous financial burden on the oil transportation 
industry. This section avoids such a result by providing 
shippers with an inducement, rather than simply accelerating 
OPA's double-hull mandate.

Section 103. Prevention of oil spills by improvement of safety of 
        towing vessels

    Section 103 requires the Secretary to issue a final safety 
rule for towing vessels by September 30, 1996. If no final rule 
is issued by the deadline, the proposed rule the Coast Guard 
issued in 1995 will go into effect automatically unless and 
until a final rule is published. The final rule must require 
towing vessels to have on board: (1) a fire-suppression system 
or other fire protection equipment; and (2) an electronic 
position fixing device. The final rule also is to include a 
requirement ensuring that operators conduct tests and 
inspections of a vessel's navigation and operational equipment 
at regular intervals with the results to be entered into a log 
or similar record.

Section 104. Other oil prevention enhancement measures

    Section 104 includes a series of prevention-related 
measures to address specific concerns raised after the North 
Cape spill. This section requires the Secretary, in cooperation 
with the Marine Board of the National Research Council, to 
study how the designation of waters and shipping lanes through 
which vessels transport oil affect the risks of an oil spill.
    Section 104 directs the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 
(Corps) to review a forthcoming report of the Rhode Island 
Governor's task force on the dredging of the State's waterways. 
It further directs the Corps to submit to Congress within 120 
days of this review recommendations regarding the feasibility 
and environmental effects of dredging.
    Section 104 also provides a standard for regulations on 
lightering operations that are required under title 46 of the 
U.S. Code, as amended by subsection 4115(d) of OPA. Lightering 
involves the transfer of oil from one vessel to another.
    Current law requires that lightering regulations be issued 
that address various factors, including prevention and response 
to oil spills, but does not expressly provide a standard such 
rules are to meet. The standard prescribed in Section 104 for 
such rules is the same one OPA established for the interim 
single-hull vessel spill prevention rules, which is to provide 
as substantial protection to the environment as is economically 
and technologically feasible. Use of this standard for 
lightering rules is appropriate not only because it has a 
precedent in OPA, but because lightering operations are 
expected to continue to increase, especially as more and more 
single-hull vessels are precluded from operating in U.S. waters 
over the next 20 years. The regulations also should clarify 
that the Captain of the local port has authority to oversee 
lightering activities, in particular as they may affect 
sensitive ecological resources.

               title ii--improving response to oil spills

Section 201. Access to timely short-term financial assistance for 
        persons injured by oil spills

    Section 201 helps to ensure that immediate financial 
assistance is available and will be provided for those whose 
livelihoods are affected by an oil spill. In the context of the 
North Cape spill, some impacted fishermen and lobstermen were 
reluctant to pursue partial claims for fear of waiving their 
right to full compensation. This reluctance led to significant 
hardship in certain situations because many of these self-
employed claimants did not qualify for unemployment benefits.
    Section 201 clarifies that subparagraph 1002(b)(2)(E) of 
OPA entitles a claimant injured by an oil spill to receive 
interim, partial damages without prejudicing the right to 
pursue a claim for other damages in the future. Subsection 
1014(b) of OPA also is amended to require that a responsible 
party's advertisement setting forth claims procedures inform 
injured parties that they may present claims for interim, 
partial damages. The responsible party still may establish 
reasonable parameters within which claims for partial, interim 
damages may be presented to avoid undue transactions costs, 
consistent with avoiding financial hardship to injured parties.
    Section 201 also clarifies that a claimant under OPA may 
present an unpaid claim for interim, partial damages to the 
Fund. Finally, this section amends subsection 1015(a) of OPA to 
make clear that subrogation applies only with respect to the 
portion of a claim reflected in a payment of interim, partial 
damages.

Section 202. Advance procedures for the closing and reopening of 
        fishing grounds

    Section 202 requires that the Under Secretary of Commerce 
for Oceans and Atmosphere, in consultation with the 
Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, the 
Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, the Director 
of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other affected state 
and Federal agencies, issue regulatory guidance, including 
model protocols and standards, for the closing and re-opening 
of fishing grounds. This section further requires that area 
contingency plans include area-specific protocols and 
standards.

Section 203. Access to oil spill liability trust fund for natural 
        resource damages

    Section 203 amends section 6002 of OPA to ensure that 
natural resource damage trustees have direct access to the Fund 
for the costs of the complete scope of their activities in 
assessing natural resource damages arising from an oil spill.
    An October 1995 Comptroller General opinion interpreted OPA 
as precluding reimbursement from the Fund for costs associated 
with regular natural resource damage assessment activities as 
well as the development and implementation of restoration 
plans. The opinion determined that such costs are reimbursable 
only if provided for by congressional appropriation. The result 
of the opinion is that natural resource damage trustees have 
not had direct access to the Fund for their assessment work or 
for developing or implementing restoration plans without 
separate congressional appropriation.
    The purpose of Section 203 is to overrule the Comptroller 
General's opinion to allow trustees to have direct access to 
the Fund for reimbursement of costs arising from natural 
resource damage assessment. To ensure that such payments do not 
undermine oil spill response, the section also raises the 
amount that may be disbursed from the Fund without separate 
congressional appropriation from $50 million to $60 million. 
The committee will continue to examine the level of this 
increase to ensure that it reflects the approximate amount of 
what trustees need to carry out natural resource damage 
assessments.

Section 204. Access to necessary information, expertise, and funding to 
        mitigate near-term ecological injury resulting from oil spill

    Section 204 amends subsection 1012(a) of OPA to ensure 
access to the Fund for costs to mitigate or avoid ecological 
injury immediately following an oil spill. Such costs include 
those arising from management activities designed to ameliorate 
environmental effects of oil already spilled or spread in 
addition to those designed to protect resources from being 
subjected to oil in the first instance. Whether costs meet the 
standard of this section is within the discretion of the 
Federal On-Scene Coordinator. Allowing the Fund to be used to 
mitigate ecological damage during the critical time period 
immediately following a spill will minimize the long-term 
injury to the environment and correspondingly reduce natural 
resource damages.
    Section 204 also provides access to the Fund for up to half 
of the costs of plugging an idle oil well under a cost-sharing 
agreement with the State. It is estimated that the nation has 
approximately 215,000 idle oil wells on non-Federal lands, some 
of which pose substantial safety or environmental risks. This 
section will allow these wells to be plugged to alleviate such 
risks so long as the State in which the well is located 
contributes at least 50 percent of the necessary costs.
    Section 204 requires that area contingency plans include a 
list of local scientists with expertise in the environmental 
effects of oil spills. In addition, it amends subsection 
4202(b) of OPA to require the Under Secretary of Commerce for 
Oceans and Atmosphere to establish a national scientific 
support team to assist oil spill response teams. Finally, this 
section amends section 7001 of OPA to establish a national 
clearinghouse of information on the environmental effects of 
oil spills and on how best to mitigate the effects of various 
kinds of spills.

Section 205. Compliance with response plans

    Section 205 requires compliance with response plans unless 
the President or the Federal On-Scene Coordinator determines 
that deviation from the plans would result in a faster 
response, a more effective response, or a response that would 
better mitigate environmental effects than would strict 
adherence to the plans.

  title iii--tailoring of offshore facility financial responsibility 
                    requirements to oil spill risks

Section 301. Tailoring of offshore facility financial responsibility 
        requirements to oil spill risks

    OPA requires offshore oil-related facilities to demonstrate 
evidence of access to resources sufficient to cover the likely 
costs of clean-up and damages arising from an oil spill. This 
requirement is satisfied by a facility's obtaining a 
Certificate of Financial Responsibility under OPA. In this way, 
OPA ensures that the discharger of oil--not United States 
taxpayers --bears the primary financial burden resulting from a 
spill.
    Section 301 makes the financial responsibility requirements 
for offshore facilities consistent with the original intent of 
Congress. It will ensure that undue and unintended economic 
burdens are avoided but will retain OPA's important 
environmental purposes.
    In particular, Section 301 of the reported bill modifies 
the financial responsibility requirements of OPA in three ways.
    First, it corrects an overly broad interpretation of OPA by 
the Department of the Interior. That interpretation would apply 
the financial responsibility requirements for offshore 
facilities to traditional onshore facilities such as land-based 
oil terminals and marinas. Such facilities never were intended 
to be subject to OPA's offshore financial responsibility 
requirements, even if they have certain appurtenances that 
extend onto submerged land. This title makes clear OPA's 
original intent.
    Second, Section 301 exempts from financial responsibility 
requirements small offshore operators who, even under a worst-
case scenario, lack the capacity to cause a major oil spill. 
This de minimis exemption removes the potential for imposing an 
unjustifiably heavy financial burden on small businesses that 
pose only minimal environmental risk. The section does not 
affect the liability of a facility that discharges oil. The 
President also retains the discretion to require a small 
offshore facility to demonstrate evidence of financial 
responsibility if the risk justifies doing so.
    Third, Section 301 allows an offshore facility's financial 
responsibility requirements to be tailored to the actual oil 
spill risks posed by the facility. OPA currently directs the 
promulgation of regulations that would require all offshore 
facilities to meet financial responsibility requirements at a 
$150 million level. Section 301 instead applies the current $35 
million requirement in the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act 
for facilities in Federal waters but give the President 
discretion to increase the requirement on the basis of risk. A 
similar approach is taken with respect to offshore facilities 
in State waters, except that the minimum financial 
responsibility requirement is $10 million in light of the fact 
that many coastal States impose their own such requirements.
    In sum, Title III removes the potential for unnecessary and 
inefficient economic burdens yet preserves OPA's fundamental 
purpose of ensuring that oil-spill polluters pay for the 
effects of their pollution. It also retains OPA's important 
safeguards and deterrents against oil pollution in the first 
instance.

                     title iv--technical amendments

Section 401. Miscellaneous technical amendments

    Section 401 amends the scope of OPA to include the Trust 
Territory of the Pacific Islands and corrects other minor non-
substantive errors inadvertently contained in OPA as passed.

                                Hearings

    The Committee on Environment and Public Works held two 
oversight hearings on the effectiveness of Federal oil 
pollution legislation. In addition to the oversight hearings, 
the committee held a legislative hearing on S. 1730.
    The first hearing was held on February 14, 1996 in 
Narragansett, RI, near the site of the North Cape spill. The 
purpose of the field hearing was to use the experience of the 
North Cape spill to assess the adequacy of Federal oil 
pollution laws to prevent and respond to spills. Testimony was 
given by: Governor Lincoln Almond of Rhode Island; Vice Admiral 
Arthur E. Henn, Vice Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard; John 
Bullard, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs and Sustainable 
Development, Department of Commerce/NOAA; Dr. Phillip A. 
Singerman, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic 
Development; Captain P. (``Barney'') Turlo, Federal On-Scene 
Coordinator, North Cape spill, East Providence, RI; Charles 
Hebert, National Wildlife Refuge Manager, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, Charlestown, RI; Douglas A. Eklof, Vice 
President, Eklof Marine, Staten Island, NY; Anne Considine, 
Director of Marketing and Tourism, South County Council on 
Tourism, Wakefield, RI; Jim O'Malley, Executive Director, East 
Coast Fisheries Foundation, Narragansett, RI; Brian Turnbaugh, 
Inshore fisherman, Wakefield, RI; Robert Smith, President, 
Rhode Island Lobstermen's Association, Charlestown, RI; Curt 
Spalding, Executive Director, Save the Bay, Providence, RI; 
Dennis Nixon, Professor, Department of Marine Affairs, 
University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI.
    The second hearing was held on March 27, 1996 in 
Washington, D.C. The purpose of the hearing was to consider 
possible Federal legislative reforms to improve prevention of, 
and response to, oil spills in light of the North Cape spill. 
Testimony was given by: Rear Admiral James C. Card, Chief of 
Marine Safety for the U.S. Coast Guard; Daniel Sheehan, 
Director of the National Pollution Funds Center; Douglas K. 
Hall, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and 
Atmosphere; Timothy R.E. Keeney, Director, Rhode Island 
Department of Environmental Management, Providence, R.I.; 
Thomas A. Allegretti, President, American Waterways Operators, 
Arlington, VA; George Blake, Executive Vice President, Maritime 
Overseas Corporation, New York, NY; Sally Ann Lentz, Co-
Director and General Counsel, Ocean Advocates, Columbia, MD; 
Barry Hartman, Counsel, Rhode Island Lobstermen's Association; 
Richard Hobbie, President, Water Quality Insurance Syndicate; 
Mark Miller, President, National Response Corporation, 
Calverton, NY; and Bill Gordon, Professor of Marine Affairs, 
University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI.
    The third hearing was held on June 4, 1996, to consider S. 
1730, the Oil Spill Response and Improvement Act. Testimony was 
given by: Rear Admiral James C. Card, Chief of Marine Safety 
for the U.S. Coast Guard; Douglas K. Hall, Assistant Secretary 
of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere; Sidney Holbrook, 
Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Environmental 
Protection, Hartford, CT; John Torgan, Narragansett Baykeeper 
for Save the Bay, Providence, RI; Richard Hobbie, President, 
Water Quality Insurance Syndicate; Thomas A. Allegretti, 
President, American Waterways Operators, Arlington, VA; Richard 
DuMoulin, Chairman and CEO, Marine Transport Lines, for 
Intertanko, Secaucus, NJ; George Savastano, Director of Public 
Works, Ocean City, NJ; and Douglas C. Wolcott, Chair, Committee 
on OPA Implementation Review for the Marine Board of the 
National Research Council.

                           Regulatory Impact

    In compliance with section 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the committee makes the following 
evaluation of the regulatory impact of the reported bill.
    Using the extant Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA) as a 
baseline, which S. 1730 amends, the marginal regulatory impact 
of the reported bill is expected to be minimal.
    First, one of the most important provisions of the reported 
bill is completely incentive-based and non-regulatory in 
nature. This provision is Section 102, which narrows the 
conditions under which an oil shipper who converts to a double-
hull vessel well in advance of the statutory deadline will face 
liability above the statutory cap. As such, the provision is 
voluntary in nature and imposes no new regulatory requirements. 
The Coast Guard already has issued a rule establishing 
standards for double hulls under OPA.
    Second, the balance of the regulatory provisions in the 
reported bill are structured to fit within the existing 
statutory and regulatory framework established in OPA. They do 
so by: (A) providing for the application of safety and 
environmental regulatory measures to satisfy long-overdue 
rulemaking requirements; (B) setting forth measures the Coast 
Guard is to include in its issuance of final rules to the 
greatest extent practicable consistent with relevant statutory 
criteria; (C) clarifying standards originally prescribed in 
OPA; (D) making minor substantive changes in implementation of 
various provisions or operation of already existing regulatory 
entities; or (E) making minor technical corrections to the 
statute. A breakdown of the provisions by the foregoing 
categories follows.
    Encompassed within subcategory (A) are: (1) Subsection 
101(a), which will ensure that final oil-spill prevention rules 
for single-hull oil-carrying vessels, including both 
operational and structural measures as appropriate, will be in 
effect by the end of calendar year 1996; and (2) Subsection 
103(a), which will ensure that a final rule on navigation 
safety equipment for towing vessels will be in effect by the 
end of fiscal year 1996.
    Although these sections involve the issuance of new 
regulatory requirements, their incremental regulatory impact 
should be minimal. The Coast Guard already has issued each of 
the various rules at issue in proposed form. In addition, with 
respect to ensuring that final rules for single-hull tank 
vessels are in effect by certain deadlines, OPA already 
contains a requirement mandating their issuance. Therefore, S. 
1730 adds no new regulatory burden with respect to such rules.
    Encompassed within subcategory (B) are: (1) the first 
portion of subsection 101(b), which directs the Coast Guard to 
include certain measures in its final rules on interim measures 
to reduce oil spills from single-hull vessels; and (2) 
subsection 103(b), which directs the Coast Guard to include 
certain other measures in its final rule on navigation safety 
equipment for towing vessels.
    The regulatory impact of these subsections should be 
relatively minimal for the following reasons. First, most of 
the measures required to be included are already part of the 
applicable proposed rules in one form or another. Second, the 
measure not in the proposed single-hull rules is crafted 
flexibly to allow compliance by one of several means, while the 
measure not in the proposed towing-vessel rule relates to 
equipment (fire-suppression system) that most towing vessels 
reasonably can be expected to have already. Finally, the 
measures are to be incorporated into already ongoing rulemaking 
processes.
    Encompassed within subcategory (C) are: (1) the second 
portion of subsection 101(b), which clarifies the standard 
under which the Coast Guard is to issue single-hull spill 
prevention rules in accordance with subsection 4115(b) of OPA; 
and (2) Section 201, which clarifies that persons injured by an 
oil spill are entitled to interim, short-term damages under 
OPA. These provisions simply clarify existing provisions in 
OPA, and thus, their regulatory impact is expected to be 
negligible.
    Encompassed within subcategory (D) are (1) subsection 
104(c), which applies the standard for the single-hull spill 
prevention rules to the rulemaking for lightering operations 
already required of the Coast Guard; (2) Section 203, which 
makes the Fund available for natural resource damage 
assessments under OPA without the need for a separate 
appropriation of Congress; (3) subsection 204(a), which expands 
the purposes for which the Fund may be used to include costs 
necessary to avoid imminent ecological injury and the plugging 
of idle oil wells; (4) Section 205, which modifies the standard 
under which deviation from response plans may occur; and (5) 
Title III, which clarifies the financial responsibility 
requirements for offshore facilities.
    Each of these provisions reflects a change in operation of 
instrumentalities already in existence under OPA. Thus, their 
regulatory impact should be de minimis.
    Encompassed in subcategory (E) is Section 401, which makes 
minor technical corrections to OPA.
    The bill will not have any effect on the personal privacy 
of individuals.

                          Mandates Assessment

    In compliance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 
(Public Law 104-4), the committee makes the following 
evaluation of the Federal mandates contained in the reported 
bill.
    S. 1730 imposes no Federal intergovernmental mandates on 
State, local, or tribal governments. All of its governmental 
directives are imposed on Federal agencies. The Coast Guard has 
estimated that a very small percentage of costs associated with 
the rules required to be issued under OPA, as amended by this 
bill, may fall upon non-Federal governmental entities.
    The bill does not directly impose any Federal Private 
Sector mandates either, although some of its provisions may 
ultimately result in duties or costs being imposed on the 
private sector.
    In particular, as described above in the Regulatory Impact 
analysis, sections 101 or 102 could trigger into effect 
proposed rules that would place enforceable duties on the 
private sector. The Coast Guard has made estimates, summarized 
below, of the economic impact of these proposed rules. Any 
long-term effects of such a scenario are highly speculative 
because the reported bill would make the proposed rules 
effective only until the Coast Guard issues a final rule on the 
requisite measures at hand.
    With respect to the proposed operational rule for single-
hull vessels, the Coast Guard estimated that it would affect 
approximately 1359 single-hull oil-carrying tank vessels that 
were operating on U.S. navigable waters as of the date of the 
rule's issuance (November 1995). It was estimated that first-
year compliance with the proposed rule would cost the affected 
industry about $183.8 million in the aggregate, with annual 
costs projected to trend dramatically downward after the first 
year and eventually level off over time.
    With respect to the proposed structural rule for single-
hull vessels, the Coast Guard estimated its annual cost in the 
early years of application to peak at around $164 million. Per-
vessel cost was estimated to range from around $40,000 to 
$380,000, a range which the Coast Guard found was within the 
owner's capital investment in a majority of cases.
    There are approximately 196 U.S. tankships and 86 U.S. tank 
barges of over 5,000 gross tons that carry oil in bulk and, 
thus, that would be affected by the proposed single-hull 
interim rules. Of these, 16 tank vessels and 32 tank barges are 
owned by small businesses. The Coast Guard has determined that 
neither of the proposed rules would have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities.
    With respect to the proposed navigation safety rule for 
towing vessels, it would apply to towing vessels 8 meters 
(26.25 feet) or more in length operating on navigable U.S. 
waters subject to a few exceptions. The Coast Guard estimated 
the maximum present-value costs the proposed rule would impose 
on affected towing operators to be around $31.5 million in the 
aggregate. The Coast Guard also determined that the proposed 
towing-vessel rules would not result in a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities.
    S. 1730 also directs the Coast Guard to include certain 
measures in the various ongoing rulemakings. The direct costs 
of these measures on the private sector should not be 
significant. First, many of the vessels that will be regulated 
under such rules already satisfy such measures (for example, 
the measure requiring towing vessels to have a fire-suppression 
system). Second, the requisite measure that could impose the 
greatest costs on the private sector, designed to prevent 
groundings of tank barges, is crafted flexibly so that barge 
operators may comply by one of several means. Finally, the bill 
requires inclusion of particular measures only to the extent 
they meet the statutory criteria of OPA. One such criterion, in 
subsection 4115(b), is that such rules are to provide as 
substantial protection to the environment as is economically 
and technologically feasible. The feasibility ``sideboard'' 
will help to avoid excessive financial impacts on the regulated 
industry.
    Section 201, which clarifies that persons injured by an oil 
spill are entitled to interim, short-term damages under OPA, 
also could result in somewhat greater costs in the processing 
of claims by a responsible party or its guarantor. The 
incremental increase of such costs should be de minimis, 
however, given that the section simply clarifies the intent of 
OPA in this regard. This conclusion is supported by the 
testimony of a principal guarantor that the current practice 
generally is to allow injured parties to file claims for 
partial, interim damages. Finally, the report makes clear that 
reasonable parameters may be set within which claims for 
partial, interim damages may be presented to avoid undue 
transactions costs, consistent with avoiding financial hardship 
to injured parties.
    A word also is in order with respect to Section 301, which 
modifies the financial responsibility requirements for offshore 
facilities under OPA. Given that OPA already contains such a 
requirement, section 301 contains no new mandate. The immediate 
effect of this provision on the regulated industry will be to 
lessen economic impacts because of the reduced amount of 
financial responsibility required for most regulated 
facilities.
    Most of the costs discussed above will result from measures 
that will help to prevent oil spills in the first instance or 
reduce their impacts when they do occur. As such, the measures 
obviously will better help to protect environmental resources. 
But they also will result in long-term financial savings, both 
to persons in areas that will be spared oil spills and to the 
regulated industry as it will be able to avoid the sizable 
liability that often results from a spill. Testimony received 
by the committee demonstrated that an oil spill is especially 
illustrative of the principle that a healthy environment is a 
necessary prerequisite for a healthy economy. Fishermen, 
lobstermen, those involved in the tourist industry, and scores 
of others who rely on the marine environment experienced 
substantial financial losses as a result of the North Cape 
spill.
    The other private-sector costs may arise from measures that 
will ensure that parties and communities injured by a spill are 
expeditiously and effectively compensated. As discussed above, 
any such costs to the responsible party are expected to be 
negligible and the benefits to injured parties in need of 
financial assistance may well be significant.
    Thus, the financial and environmental benefits of the 
measures in S. 1730 far outweigh any costs they may impose.
    The reported bill will have no discernable effect on the 
competitive balance between the public and private sectors. The 
public sector is not involved in the private-sector activities 
addressed in the bill.

                             Rollcall Votes

    On June 18, 1996 and on June 20, 1996, the committee met to 
consider S. 1730, and on June 20, voted to report the bill, as 
amended, by a rollcall vote of 17 in favor and 0 opposed, with 
Senator Inhofe voting present. Voting in favor were Senators 
Chafee, Warner, Smith, Faircloth, Kempthorne, Thomas, 
McConnell, Bond, Bennett, Baucus, Moynihan, Lautenberg, Reid, 
Graham, Lieberman, Boxer, and Wyden.

                          Cost of Legislation

    Section 403 of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Act 
requires that a statement of the cost of a reported bill, 
prepared by the Congressional Budget Office, be included in the 
report. That statement follows:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                     Washington, DC, June 26, 1996.
Hon. John H. Chafee,
Chairman, Committee on Environment and Public Works, U.S. Senate, 
        Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 1730, the Oil Spill 
Prevention and Response Improvement Act.
    Enactment of S. 1730 would affect direct spending. 
Therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures would apply to the 
legislation.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them.
            Sincerely,
                                                 James Blum
                                             (For June E. O'Neill).
                                ------                                


               congressional budget office cost estimate

    1. Bill number: S. 1730.
    2. Bill title: Oil Spill Prevention and Response 
Improvement Act.
    3. Bill status: As ordered reported by the Senate Committee 
on Environment and Public Works on June 20, 1996.
    4. Bill purpose: S. 1730 would amend the Oil Pollution Act 
of 1990 (OPA) and other environmental statutes to:
          Provide for interim rules and additional requirements 
        for single-hull oil tankers;
          Clarify existing law regarding the ability of persons 
        harmed by oil spills to recover short-term as well as 
        long-term damages from those responsible for such 
        spills and from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund 
        (OSLTF);
          Add new activities to the current list of authorized 
        uses of the OSLTF and make additional funds available 
        without appropriation for these and other uses; and
          Require the U.S. Coast Guard, the National Oceanic 
        and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and other 
        Federal agencies to collect and disseminate information 
        on spills, their environmental impacts, and other 
        related issues, and to perform certain studies, prepare 
        reports, and carry out certain other activities.
    5. Estimated cost to the Federal Government: CBO estimates 
that enacting S. 1730 would increase Federal outlays from 
direct spending authority by $40 million in fiscal year 1997 
and $45 million a year thereafter. The effects of the bill are 
summarized in the following table.

                                    [By fiscal year, in millions of dollars]                                    
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                  1996   1997   1998   1999   2000   2001   2002
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DIRECT SPENDING                                                                                                 
Spending Under Current Law:                                                                                     
  Estimated Budget Authority...................................     50     50     50     50     50     50     50
  Estimated Outlays............................................     36     20     15     15     15     15     15
                                                                                                                
Proposed changes:                                                                                               
  Estimated Budget Authority...................................  .....     10     10     10     10     10     10
  Estimated Outlays............................................  .....     40     45     45     45     45     45
                                                                                                                
Spending Under S. 1730:                                                                                         
  Estimated Budget Authority...................................     50     60     60     60     60     60     60
  Estimated Outlays............................................     36     60     60     60     60     60     60
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Enacting S. 1730 also could allow for slightly lower 
appropriations because some of the increase in direct spending 
might be used for damage assessments that would be ended with 
appropriations under current law.
    The costs of this bill fall within budget function 300.
    6. Basis of estimate: Section 203 of S. 1730 would create 
new budget authority and outlays by raising the annual cap on 
spending from the OSLTF that is not subject to appropriation 
and by expanding the types of activities for which these funds 
may be used. Currently, OPA authorizes the President to make 
available without appropriation up to $50 million from the 
OSLTF for the costs of cleaning up oil spills and initiating 
assessments of damages to natural resources. The $50 million in 
budget authority and any associated outlays are recorded in a 
separate account of the OSLTF known as the emergency fund. S. 
1730 would raise the annual cap on amounts made available 
without appropriation from the emergency fund to $60 million. 
In addition, the bill would allow the $60 million to be used 
for more types of activities than under current law, which 
would increase the amount spent from the emergency fund from 
its expected level of $15 million to $20 million a year (based 
on current CBO projections).
    Assessments of damage to natural resources.--Under current 
law, only preliminary costs of initiating damage assessments 
immediately following a spill can be paid from the emergency 
fund. In any given year, such preassessment costs are a minor 
part of spending from the OSLTF. The bulk of assessment costs 
must be either financed by the party that caused an oil spill--
through negotiations with the trustee of the natural resources 
(usually a Federal, State, or tribal agency)--or appropriated 
from the general fund of the U.S. Treasury. In recent years, 
such appropriations have ranged from $4 million (for 1996) to 
$7 million (in 1994 and in 1995). While spending for damage 
assessments varies each year depending on the number of spills 
and the availability of private funding, it is likely that 
freeing such spending from the appropriations process would 
result in additional mandatory outlays from the OSLTF.
    New uses of the OSLTF.--Under current law, the vast 
majority of amounts spent each year from the emergency fund are 
used for removal activities as defined by section 311 of the 
Federal Water Pollution and Control Act. While such outlays 
typically are far less than the authorized level of $50 
million, they can vary widely from year to year, depending on 
the number of spills and other factors. In recent years, 
spending has been as low as $10 million (in 1993) and as high 
as $82 million (in 1994). S. 1730 would add new activities to 
the list of authorized uses of the OSLTF, two of which 
apparently would be considered removal costs under the bill's 
broader definitions and lower risk standards. As a result, more 
of the amounts made available from the emergency fund would be 
spent than is currently the case. The new removal costs that 
would probably be eligible for emergency funds include: (1) 
one-half of the cost of plugging idle oil wells under cost-
sharing agreements with the States in which they are located, 
which is currently done only to prevent an imminent spill, and 
(2) expenses associated with mitigating or avoiding ecological 
injuries immediately after a spill (including the costs of 
managing such activities), which are currently limited to 
containment efforts.
    In any given year, the mix of activities would be 
determined by factors such as the number and severity of new 
spills and the number of applications received from States for 
well-capping projects. Other provisions. of S. 1730 would have 
no significant impact on Federal spending.
    For purposes of this estimate, CBO assumes that S. 1730 
would be enacted by the beginning of fiscal year 1997. 
Estimates of new direct spending are based on information 
provided by the Office of Management and Budget and the Coast 
Guard. In particular, we estimate that the bill would broaden 
the authority for using the OSLTF emergency funds so that the 
entire amount of $60 million would likely be spent each year.
    7. Pay-as-you-go considerations: Section 252 of the 
Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 sets 
up pay-as-you-go procedures for legislation affecting direct 
spending or receipts through 1998. CBO estimates that enacting 
S. 1730 would increase direct spending; therefore, pay-as-you-
go procedures would apply to the bill. The increase in direct 
spending is shown in the following table.

                 [By fiscal year in millions of dollars]                
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                 1996     1997     1998 
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Changes in outlays...........................        0       40       45
Changes in receipts..........................    (\1\)    (\1\)    (\1\)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Not applicable.                                                     

    8. Estimated impact on State, local, and tribal 
governments: CBO's estimate of the impact of S. 1730 on State, 
local, and tribal governments will be provided separately.
    9. Estimated impact on the private sector: CBO's estimate 
of the impact of S. 1730 on the private sector will be provided 
separately.
    10. Previous CBO estimate: None.
    11. Estimate prepared by: Deborah Reis.
    12. Estimate approved by: Paul N. Van de Water, Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.
                   ADDITIONAL VIEWS OF SENATOR INHOFE

    I support the theory behind and the implementation of the 
Oil Pollution Act of 1990. Not only is it important to have 
spill prevention efforts in place, it is also imperative to 
have workable, effective response guidelines in the unfortunate 
event of a spill. As a member of the House Public Works and 
Transportation Committee during OPA's inception, I attained a 
strong understanding of its provisions and I support reasonable 
measures that improve upon the prevention of, as well as the 
timely response to, petroleum-related accidents.
    S. 1730 was introduced as a result of the January 1996 
barge oil spill off the southern coast of Rhode Island. It is 
an honorable attempt to improve upon some of the perceived 
difficulties with the current implementation of OPA '90 that 
the North Cape spill shed light on. However, it is my belief 
that two areas need further consideration: non-use values 
assessment for natural resource damages as well as the 
financial requirements for offshore facilities.
Natural resource damages
    A final rule published in January 1996 by the National 
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (``NOAA'') has been 
challenged in the U.S. Court of Appeals by a broad section of 
commercial and maritime interests. The rule threatens the 
ability of responsible parties to pay for legitimate claims for 
oil spill damage by inviting speculative, inflative claims as 
assessed under what are called ``non-use'' values. The NOAA 
rule on natural resource damage assessment (NRDA) allows 
trustees to exercise unfettered discretion to select 
scientifically suspect methodologies for calculating these 
damages. By interjecting ``non-use'' values into the cleanup 
assessment equation, we are feeding into an arbitrary process 
that does not add to the cleanup of the site.
Financial responsibility for offshore facilities
    Some of the provisions included in S. 1730 regarding 
Certificated of Financial Responsibility for offshore 
facilities improve upon the current implementation of OPA '90. 
However, some areas need to be addressed further, and I would 
like to make reference to a couple that need attention:
    We need to review and establish firm geographic boundary 
delineating those offshore facilities that must obtain oil 
pollution insurance and apply only to facilities on the outer 
continental shelf.
    Direct action as required currently by OPA '90 may severely 
limit the availability of oil pollution insurance for offshore 
production facilities. We need to look at who should reasonably 
be financially responsible in the event of a spill.
    In addition to the lowering of the financial responsibility 
requirement to $35 million, we need to require an assessment 
based on clear and convincing evidence by the President or the 
Secretary of the Interior of the risks posed by a particular 
facility.
Conclusion
    The Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee 
has agreed to work on these issues as S. 1730 approaches the 
floor and I look forward to working with Senator Chafee as we 
move through the legislative process.

                                           Senator James M. Inhofe.
                 ADDITIONAL VIEWS OF SENATOR LAUTENBERG

    The Oil Spill Prevention and Improvement Act is a positive 
step that will help prevent oil spills and improve our response 
to spills when they occur.
    It is important that we establish strong rules to ensure 
that vessels are constructed and operated in a safe manner. 
These rules should have been adopted a long time ago.
    It is also important to create incentives for shippers to 
shift their fleets to vessels with double-hulls, which 
substantially reduce the risks of oil spills.
    However, I am concerned about section 102 of the bill, 
which would limit the liability of ship owners who convert 
their ships to double hull vessels at least five years before 
they are required to do so.
    Under present law, ships over 5,000 gross tons can be held 
liable for oil spill damages of up to $10 million. However, 
this $10 million cap does not apply if a shipper violates 
applicable safety, construction or operating requirements. 
Shipowners and insurers have argued that this exception is very 
broad, and effectively subjects shippers to unlimited liability 
for oil spills based on a shipper's simple negligence.
    As originally drafted for the hearings on oil spills, the 
Oil Spill Prevention and Improvement Act did not modify this 
liability scheme. However, section 102 of the committee-
reported bill would substantially limit the liability of 
shippers who convert their ships to double hulls at least five 
years earlier than required. Under this provision, the $10 
million liability cap would be waived only in the case of gross 
negligence or willful misconduct.
    This provision has been criticized from two sides. Some 
shippers argue that giving special preferences for only some 
double hulled ships is unfair to those who purchased equally 
safe identical vessels that were not conversions. These 
shippers argue that all double hulled ships should benefit from 
the bill's broader liability cap.
    Others argue that the threat of unlimited liability creates 
an important incentive for the safe handling of cargo, an 
incentive that has worked in practice. Because of this threat, 
many shippers have improved training of their crews, and have 
adopted an aggressive, pro-safety attitude that is largely 
responsible for a reduction in spills since 1990.
    The value of strong liability laws in promoting safety was 
highlighted in an article that appeared in the Washington Post 
on June 23 of this year, a few days after markup of the 
legislation. In that article, Gerhard Kurz, President of 
Mobil's shipping subsidiary, emphasized the importance in 
maintaining safe operations in light of the potentially huge 
liability costs associated with a spill. As Mr. Kurz stated, 
``With the liability exposure, an owner would be foolish to 
send anything but his best ships here.''
    Another major oil shipper cited in the article, Chevron, 
also noted the importance of ensuring safe operations given the 
unlimited liability of shippers under the state laws of Pacific 
Coast states.
    Clearly, liability exposure is not the only factor that 
encourages safe operations. However, it is critically 
important, and we need to be careful when making changes in 
this area. As noted in the Washington Post article, the oil 
shipping industry is increasingly dominated by independent 
shippers, many with a questionable commitment to safety. The 
article noted that Mobil rejects about 25 percent of the ships 
that it considers for possible chartering, with some of them 
``in pretty bad shape.''
    Double hulls can prevent many accidents from leading to oil 
spills, and I share the goals of the bill's sponsors to 
encourage prompt conversion to double hulled ships. Mobil 
estimates in 75 percent to 80 percent of groundings and 
collisions, the most frequent causes of marine oils spills, 
double hulls would prevent a spill. At the same time, many 
accidents involving double hulled ships still can lead to major 
oil spills, especially if crews do not respond expeditiously 
and efficiently.
    I therefore am hopeful that we can further explore the 
merits of section 102 before this legislation reaches the 
Senate floor. It is worth considering further whether we can 
create additional incentives for conversion to double hulls in 
a manner that does not create inequities between shippers, and 
that does not weaken important safety incentives.

                                       Senator Frank R. Lautenberg.
                        Changes in Existing Law

    In compliance with section 12 of rule XXVI of the Standing 
Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by the bill 
as reported are shown as follows: Existing law proposed to be 
omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new matter is printed in 
italic, existing law in which no change is proposed is shown in 
roman:

                   Public Law 101-380, 101st Congress

  AN ACT. To establish limitations on liability for damages resulting 
from oil pollution, to establish a fund for the payment of compensation 
               for such damages, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Oil Pollution Act of 1990''.
           * * * * * * *

SEC. 1001. DEFINITIONS.

    For the purpose of this Act, the term--
          (1) ``act of God'' means an unanticipated grave 
        natural disaster or other natural phenomenon of an 
        exceptional, inevitable, and irresistable character the 
        effects of which could not have been prevented or 
        avoided by the exercise of due care or foresight;
           * * * * * * *
          (36) ``United States'' and ``State'' mean the several 
        States of the United States, the District of Columbia, 
        the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, 
        the United States Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of 
        the Northern Marianas, and any other territory or 
        possession of the United States; and the Trust 
        Territory of the Pacific Islands,
           * * * * * * *

SEC. 1002. ELEMENTS OF LIABILITY.

    (a) In General.--* * *
           * * * * * * *
    (b) Covered Removal Costs and Damages.--
          (1) Removal costs.--The removal costs referred to in 
        subsection (a) are--
                  (A) * * *
           * * * * * * *
                  (E) Profits and earning capacity.--Damages 
                equal to the loss of profits or impairment of 
                earning capacity due to the injury, 
                destruction, or loss of real property, personal 
                property, or natural resources, which shall be 
                recoverable by any claimant[.], in part or in 
                full. Payment or settlement of a claim for 
                interim, short-term damages representing less 
                than the full amount of damages to which the 
                claimant ultimately may be entitled under this 
                subparagraph shall not preclude recovery by the 
                claimant for damages not reflected in the paid 
                or settled partial claim.
           * * * * * * *

SEC. 1004. LIMITS ON LIABILITY.

    (a) General Rule.-- * * *
          * * * * * * *
    (c) Exceptions.--
          (1) Acts of responsible party.--[Subsection (a)] 
        Except as provided in paragraph (4), subsection (a) 
        does not apply if the incident was proximately caused 
        by--
                  (A) gross negligence or willful misconduct 
                of, or
                  (B) the violation of an applicable Federal 
                safety, construction, or operating regulation 
                by,
        the responsible party, an agent or employee of the 
        responsible party, or a person acting pursuant to a 
        contractual relationship with the responsible party 
        (except where the sole contractual arrangement arises 
        in connection with carriage by a common carrier by 
        rail).
          (2) Failure or refusal of responsible party.--
        Subsection (a) does not apply if the responsible party 
        fails or refuses--
                  (A) to report the incident as required by law 
                and the responsible party knows or has reason 
                to know of the incident;
                  (B) to provide all reasonable cooperation and 
                assistance requested by a responsible official 
                in connection with removal activities; or
                  (C) without sufficient cause, to comply with 
                an order issued under subsection (c) or (e) of 
                section 311 of the Federal Water Pollution 
                Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1321), as amended by 
                this Act, or the Intervention on the High Seas 
                Act (33 U.S.C. 1471 et seq.).
          (3) OCS facility or vessel.--Notwithstanding the 
        limitations established under subsection (a) and the 
        defenses of section 1003, all removal costs incurred by 
        the United States Government or any State or local 
        official or agency in connection with a discharge or 
        substantial threat of a discharge of oil from any Outer 
        Continental Shelf facility or a vessel carrying oil as 
        cargo from such a facility shall be borne by the owner 
        or operator of such facility or vessel.
          (4) Double-hull vessels.--The exception in paragraph 
        (1)(B) shall not apply--
                  (A) to a tank vessel that, as of the date of 
                enactment of this paragraph, is equipped with a 
                double hull along the entire length of the 
                vessel, including fuel oil tanks; or
                  (B) to a vessel that is equipped with a 
                double hull along the entire length of the 
                vessel, including fuel oil tanks, and that is 
                replacing another tank vessel not equipped with 
                a double hull that is being retired at least 5 
                years prior to the applicable retirement date 
                under section 3703a(c) of title 46, United 
                States Code.
          * * * * * * *

SEC. 1012. USES OF THE FUND.

    (a) Uses Generally.--The Fund shall be available to the 
President for--
          (1) *  *  *
          * * * * * * *
          (5) the payment of Federal administrative, 
        operational, and personnel costs and expenses 
        reasonably necessary for and incidental to the 
        implementation, administration, and enforcement of this 
        Act (including, but not limited to, sections 
        1004(d)(2), 1006(e), 4107, 4110, 4111, 4112, 4117, 
        5006, 8103, and title VII) and subsections (b), (c), 
        (d), (j), and (l) of section 311 of the Federal Water 
        Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1321), as amended by 
        this Act, with respect to prevention, removal, and 
        enforcement related to oil discharges, provided that--
                  (A) not more than $25,000,000 in each fiscal 
                year shall be available to the Secretary for 
                operating expenses incurred by the Coast Guard;
                  (B) not more than $30,000,000 each year 
                through the end of fiscal year 1992 shall be 
                available to establish the National Response 
                System under section 311(j) of the Federal 
                Water Pollution Control Act, as amended by this 
                Act, including the purchase and prepositioning 
                of oil spill removal equipment; and
                  (C) not more than $27,250,000 in each fiscal 
                year shall be available to carry out title VII 
                of this Act.
          (6) the payment of costs to mitigate or avoid 
        ecological injury in the immediate aftermath of a spill 
        (including costs of management activities at a level 
        and of a type necessary for such a purpose, as 
        determined solely by the Federal On-Scene Coordinator); 
        and
          (7) the plugging of idle oil wells that pose a 
        substantial safety or environmental risk under a cost-
        sharing agreement with the State in which such a well 
        is located, under which agreement the State maintains 
        legal and operational responsibility for the plugging 
        and pays a minimum of 50 percent of the necessary 
        costs.
          * * * * * * *
    (e) Regulations.--The President shall--
          (1) not later than 6 months after the date of the 
        enactment of this Act, publish proposed regulations 
        detailing the manner in which the authority to obligate 
        the Fund and to enter into agreements under [this 
        subsection] subsection (d) shall be exercised; and
          * * * * * * *

SEC. 1013. CLAIMS PROCEDURE.

    (a) Presentation.--* * *
          * * * * * * *
    (d) Uncompensated Damages.--If a claim is presented in 
accordance with this section and full and adequate compensation 
is unavailable, including a claim for interim, short-term 
damages representing less than the full amount of damages to 
which the claimant ultimately may be entitled, a claim for the 
uncompensated damages and removal costs may be presented to the 
Fund.
          * * * * * * *

SEC. 1014. DESIGNATION OF SOURCE AND ADVERTISEMENT.

    (a) Designation of Source and Notification.--* * *
    (b) Advertisement by Responsible Party or Guarantor.--[If a 
responsible party] (1) In General._If a responsible party or 
guarantor fails to inform the President, within 5 days after 
receiving notification of a designation under subsection (a), 
of the party's or the guarantor's denial of the designation, 
such party or guarantor shall advertise the designation and the 
procedures by which claims may be presented, in accordance with 
regulations promulgated by the President. Advertisement under 
the preceding sentence shall begin no later than 15 days after 
the date of the designation made under subsection (a). If 
advertisement is not otherwise made in accordance with this 
subsection, the President shall promptly and at the expense of 
the responsible party or the guarantor involved, advertise the 
designation and the procedures by which claims may be presented 
to the responsible party or guarantor. Advertisement under this 
subsection shall continue for a period of no less than 30 days.
    (2) Claim for Interim Damages.--An advertisement under 
paragraph (1) shall state that a claimant may present a claim 
for interim, short-term damages representing less than the full 
amount of damages to which the claimant ultimately may be 
entitled and payment of such a claim shall not preclude 
recovery for damages not reflected in the paid or settled 
partial claim.
          * * * * * * *

SEC. 1015. SUBROGATION.

    (a) In General.--Any person, including the Fund, who pays 
compensation pursuant to this Act to any claimant for removal 
costs or damages shall be subrogated to all rights, claims, and 
causes of action that the claimant has under any other law.
    (b) Interim Damages.--
          (1) In general.--If a responsible party, a guarantor, 
        or the Fund has made payment to a claimant for interim, 
        short-term damages representing less than the full 
        amount of damages to which the claimant ultimately may 
        be entitled, subrogation under subsection (a) shall 
        apply only with respect to the portion of the claim 
        reflected in the paid interim claim.
          (2) Final damages.--Payment of such a claim shall not 
        foreclose claimant's right to recovery of all damages 
        to which a claimant otherwise is entitled under this 
        title or any other law.
    [(b)] (c) Actions on Behalf of Fund.--At the request of the 
Secretary, the Attorney General shall commerce an action on 
behalf of the Fund to recover any compensation paid by the Fund 
to any claimant pursuant to this Act, and all costs incurred by 
the Fund by reason of the claim, including interest (including 
prejudgment interest), administrative and adjudicative costs, 
and attorney's fees. Such an action may be commenced against 
any responsible party or (subject to section 1016) guarantor, 
or against any other person who is liable, pursuant to any law, 
to the compensated claimant or to the Fund, for the cost or 
damages for which the compensation was paid. Such an action 
shall be commenced against the responsible foreign government 
or other responsible party to recover any removal costs or 
damages paid from the Fund as the result of the discharge, or 
substantial threat of discharge, of oil from a foreign offshore 
unit.

SEC. 1016. FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

    (a) Requirement.-- * * *
          * * * * * * *
    (c) Offshore Facilities.--
          [(1) In general.--Except as provided in paragraph 
        (2), each responsible party with respect to an offshore 
        facility shall establish and maintain evidence of 
        financial responsibility of $150,000,000 to meet the 
        amount of liability to which the responsible party 
        could be subjected under section 1004(a) in a case in 
        which the responsible party would be entitled to limit 
        liability under that section. In a case in which a 
        person is the responsible party for more than one 
        facility subject to this subsection, evidence of 
        financial responsibility need be established only to 
        meet the maximum liability applicable to the facility 
        having the greatest maximum liability.]
          (1) In general.--
                  (A) Evidence of financial responsibility 
                required.--Except as provided in paragraph (2), 
                a responsible party with respect to an offshore 
                facility that--
                          (i)(I) is located seaward of the line 
                        of ordinary low water along the portion 
                        of the coast that is in direct contact 
                        with the open sea and the line marking 
                        the seaward limit of inland waters; or
                          (II) is located in inland waters, 
                        such as coastal bays or estuaries, 
                        seaward of the line of ordinary low 
                        water along the portion of the coast 
                        that is not in direct contact with the 
                        open sea;
                          (ii) is used for exploring for, 
                        drilling for, or producing oil, or for 
                        transporting oil from facilities 
                        engaged in oil exploration, drilling, 
                        or production; and
                          (iii) has a worst-case oil spill 
                        discharge potential of more than 1,000 
                        barrels of oil (or a lesser amount if 
                        the President determines that the risks 
                        posed by the facility justify it),
                shall establish and maintain evidence of 
                financial responsibility in the amount required 
                under subparagraph (B) or (C), as applicable.
                  (B) Amount required generally.--Except as 
                provided in subparagraph (C), the amount of 
                financial responsibility for an offshore 
                facility described in subparagraph (A) is--
                          (i) $35,000,000, in the case of an 
                        off-shore facility located seaward of 
                        the seaward boundary of a State; or
                          (ii)$10,000,000, in the case of an 
                        off-shore facility located landward of 
                        the seaward boundary of a State.
                  (C) Greater amount.--If the President 
                determines that an amount of financial 
                responsibility for a responsible party greater 
                than the amount required by subparagraphs (B) 
                and (D) is justified by the relative 
                operational, environmental, human health, and 
                other risks posed by the quantity or quality of 
                oil that is explored for, drilled for, 
                produced, stored, handled, transferred, 
                processed or transported by the responsible 
                party, the evidence of financial responsibility 
                required shall be for an amount determined by 
                the President not exceeding $150,000,000.
                  (D) Multiple facilities.--If a person is a 
                responsible party for more than 1 facility 
                subject to this subsection, evidence of 
                financial responsibility need be established 
                only to meet the amount applicable to the 
                facility having the greater financial 
                responsibility requirement under this 
                subsection.
                  (E) State jurisdiction.--The requirements of 
                this paragraph shall not apply if any offshore 
                facility located landward of the seaward 
                boundary of a State is required by the State to 
                establish and maintain evidence of financial 
                responsibility in a manner comparable to, and 
                in an amount equal to or greater than, the 
                requirements of this paragraph.
                  (F) Definition.--For the purpose of this 
                paragraph, the seaward boundary of a State 
                shall be determined in accordance with section 
                2(b) of the Submerged Lands Act (43 U.S.C. 
                1301(b)).
          * * * * * * *
    [(e)] (d) Methods of Financial Responsibility.--Financial 
responsibility under this section may be established by any 
one, or by any combination of the following methods which the 
Secretary (in the case of a vessel) or the President (in the 
case of a facility) determines to be acceptable: evidence of 
insurance, surety bond, guarantee, letter of credit, 
qualification as a self-insurer, or other evidence of financial 
responsibility. Any bond filed shall be issued by a bonding 
company authorized to do business in the United States. In 
promulgating requirements under this section, the Secretary or 
the President, as appropriate may specify policy or other 
contractual terms, conditions, or defenses which are necessary, 
or which are unacceptable, in establishing evidence of 
financial responsibility to effectuate the purposes of this 
Act.
    [(f)] (e) Claims Against Guarantor.--Any claim for which 
liability may be established under section 1002 maybe asserted 
directly against any guarantor providing evidence of financial 
responsibility for a responsible party liable under hat section 
for removal costs and damages to which the claim pertains. In 
defending against such a claim, the guarantor may invoke (1) 
all rights and defenses which would be available to the 
responsible party under this Act, (2) any defense authorized 
under subsection (e), and (3) the defense that the incident was 
caused by the willful misconduct of the responsible party. The 
guarantor may not invoke any other defense that might be 
available in proceedings brought by the responsible party 
against the guarantor.
    [(g)] (f) Limitation on Guarantor's Liability.--Nothing in 
this Act shall impose liability with respect to an incident on 
any guarantor for damages or removal costs which exceed, in the 
aggregate, the amount of financial responsibility required 
under this Act which that guarantor has provided for a 
responsible party.
    [(h)] (g) Continuation of Regulations.--Any regulation 
relating to financial responsibility, which has been issued 
pursuant to any provision of law repealed or superseded by this 
Act, and which is in effect on the date immediately preceding 
the effective date of this Act, is deemed and shall be 
construed to be a regulation issued pursuant to this section. 
Such a regulation shall remain in full force and effect unless 
and until superseded by a new regulation issued under this 
section.
    [(i)] (h) Unified Certificate.--The Secretary may issue a 
single unified certificate of financial responsibility for 
purposes of this Act and any other law.

SEC. 4115. ESTABLISHMENT OF DOUBLE HULL REQUIREMENT FOR TANK VESSELS.

    (a) Double Hull Requirement.--* * *
          * * * * * * *
    (b) Rulemaking.--[The Secretary]
          (1) In general._The Secretary shall, within 12 months 
        after the date of the enactment of this Act, complete a 
        rulemaking proceeding and issue a final rule to require 
        that tank vessels over 5,000 gross tons affected by 
        section 3703a of title 46, United States Code, as added 
        by this section, comply until January 1, 2015, with 
        structural and operational requirements that the 
        Secretary determines will provide as substantial 
        protection to the environment as is economically and 
        technologically feasible.
          (2) Operational elements.--If a final rule under this 
        subsection with respect to operational elements does 
        not become effective by the date that is 59 months 
        after the date specified in paragraph (1), the proposed 
        rule in the Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking 
        (60 Fed. Reg. 55,904 (1995)) shall be considered to be 
        in effect as a final rule as of that date and shall 
        remain in effect until a final rule becomes effective.
          (3) Structural elements.--If a final rule under this 
        subsection with respect to structural elements does not 
        become effective by the date that is 64 months after 
        the date specified in paragraph (1), the proposed rule 
        in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (58 Fed. Reg. 
        54,870 (1993)) shall be considered to be in effect as a 
        final rule as of that date and shall remain in effect 
        until a final rule becomes effective, except provision 
        in the proposed rule with respect to which the 
        Secretary may issue a finding on the record that the 
        provision would be likely to increase the risks of oil 
        pollution.
          (4) Provisions to be included.--
                  (A) In general.--In issuing rules under this 
                subsection, the secretary shall include the 
                following provisions to the greatest extent 
                practicable and consistent with relevant 
                statutory criteria:
                          (i) A requirement that a single hull 
                        barge over 5,000 gross tons operating 
                        in open ocean or coastal waters that is 
                        affected by this section have at least 
                        1 of the following:
                                  (I) A crew member on board 
                                and an operable anchor.
                                  (II) An emergency system on 
                                board the vessel towing the 
                                barge to retrieve the barge if 
                                the tow line ruptures.
                                  (III) Adoption of any other 
                                measure that provides 
                                comparable protection against 
                                grounding of the barge as that 
                                provided by a measure described 
                                in subclause (I) or (II).
                          (ii) For each port in which any tank 
                        vessel not fitted with a double bottom 
                        that covers the entire cargo tank 
                        length operates, establishment of a 
                        minimum under-keel clearance for the 
                        vessel when entering the port or place 
                        of destination, when departing port, 
                        and when operating in an inland or 
                        coastal waterway.
                  (B) Considerations.--In issuing rules under 
                this subsection, the Secretary shall--
                          (i) require the use of all measures 
                        that the Secretary finds meet the 
                        criteria of this section, not only 
                        those determined to be the most cost-
                        effective or most cost-efficient;
                          (ii) take account of human safety, 
                        including the safety of crew members on 
                        affected tank vessels; and
                          (iii) consider measures that prevent 
                        collision or grounding of a tank vessel 
                        in addition to those that reduce oil 
                        outflow after such a collision or 
                        grounding has occurred.
                  (C) Inclusion in final rule.--If, in the 
                discretion of the Secretary, the Secretary 
                finds it necessary, the Secretary may include 
                the provisions of subparagraph (A) in 
                conjunction and simultaneously with the final 
                rule with respect to structural elements 
                referenced to paragraph (3).

SEC. 4202. NATIONAL PLANNING AND RESPONSE SYSTEM.

    (a) In General.-- * * *
          * * * * * * *
    (b) Implementation.--
          (1) Area committees and contingency plans.-- * * *
          * * * * * * *
          (4) Tank vessel and facility response plans; 
        transition provision; effective date of prohibition.--
        (A) Not later than 24 months after the date of the 
        enactment of this Act, the President shall issue 
        regulations for tank vessel and facility response plans 
        under section 311(j)(5) of the Federal Water Pollution 
        Control Act, as amended by this Act.
          (B) During the period beginning 30 months after the 
        date of the enactment of this paragraph and ending 36 
        months after that date of enactment, a tank vessel or 
        facility for which a response plan is required to be 
        prepared under section 311(j)(5) of the Federal Water 
        Pollution Control Act, as amended by this Act, may not 
        handle, store, or transport oil unless the owner or 
        operator thereof has submitted such a plan to the 
        President.
          (C) Subparagraph (E) of section 311(j)(5) of the 
        Federal Water Pollution Control Act, as amended by this 
        Act, shall take effect 36 months after the date of the 
        enactment of this Act.
          (5) Scientific support team.--
                  (A) Establishment.--Not later than 180 days 
                after the date of enactment of this paragraph, 
                the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and 
                Atmosphere shall establish a process under 
                which a scientific support team shall be named, 
                all or part of which may be convened in 
                response to an oil spill covered by this Act.
                  (B) Purpose.--The purpose of the scientific 
                support team shall be to provide useful or 
                necessary scientific information and support to 
                the response team and to recommend any measures 
                that will serve to mitigate ecological injury 
                immediately following such a spill.
                  (C) Operations open to the public.--To the 
                extent it does not interfere with its 
                expeditious operation, the operations of a 
                scientific team shall be open to the public
          * * * * * * *

SEC. 4303. FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY PENALTIES.

    (a) Administrative.--Any person who, after notice and an 
opportunity for a hearing, is found to have failed to comply 
with the requirements of section 1016 or the regulations issued 
under that section, or with a denial or detention order issued 
under subsection [(c)(2)] (b)(2) of that section, shall be 
liable to the United States for a civil penalty, not to exceed 
$25,000 per day of violation.
          * * * * * * *

SEC. 6002. ANNUAL APPROPRIATIONS.

    (a) Required.--Except as provided in subsection (b), 
amounts in the Fund shall be available only as provided in 
annual appropriation Acts.
    [(b) Exceptions.--Subsection(a) shall not apply to sections 
1006(f), 1012(a)(4), or 5006(b), and shall not apply to an 
amount not to exceed $50,000,000 in any fiscal year which the 
President may make available from the Fund to carry out section 
311(c) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, as amended 
by this Act, and to initiate the assessment of natural 
resources damages required under section 1006. Sums to which 
this subsection applies shall remain available until expended.]
    (b) Exceptions.--
          (1) In General.--Subsection (a) shall not apply to--
                  (A) section 1006(f), 1012(a)(4), or 5006(b); 
                or
                  (B) an amount not exceeding $60,000,000 for 
                any fiscal year that the President may make 
                available from the Fund to--
                          (i) carry out section 311(c) of the 
                        Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 
                        U.S.C. 1321(c)); and
                          (ii) conduct the assessment of 
                        natural resource damages required under 
                        section 1006;
          (2) Availability.--Amounts to which this subsection 
        applies shall remain available until expended.
          * * * * * * *

SEC. 7001. OIL POLLUTION RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM.

    (a) Interagency Coordinating Committee on Oil Pollution 
Research.--
          (1) Establishment.--There is established an 
        Interagency Coordinating Committee on Oil Pollution 
        Research (hereinafter in this section referred to as 
        the ``Interagency Committee'').
          (2) Purposes.--The Interagency Committee shall 
        coordinate a comprehensive program of oil pollution 
        research, technology development, and demonstration 
        among the Federal agencies, in cooperation and 
        coordination with industry, universities, research 
        institutions, State governments, and other nations, as 
        appropriate, and shall foster cost-effective research 
        mechanisms, including the joint funding of research.
          (3) Membership.--The Interagency Committee shall 
        include representatives from the Department of Commerce 
        (including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
        Administration and the National Institute of Standards 
        and Technology), the Department of Energy, the 
        Department of the Interior (including the Minerals 
        Management Service and the United States Fish and 
        Wildlife Service), the Department of Transportation 
        (including the United States Coast Guard, the Maritime 
        Administration, and the Research and Special Projects 
        Administration), the Department of Defense (including 
        the Army Corps of Engineers and the Navy), the 
        Environmental Protection Agency, the National 
        Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the United 
        States Fire Administration in the Federal Emergency 
        Management Agency, as well as such other Federal 
        agencies as the President [may designate. A 
        representative] may designate. A representative of the 
        Department of Transportation shall serve as Chairman.
          (4) Dissemination of Information.--The Interagency 
        Committee shall disseminate and compile information 
        regarding previous spills, including data from 
        universities, research institutions, State governments, 
        and other nations, as appropriate.
          * * * * * * *
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                           UNITED STATES CODE

               TITLE 33--NAVIGATION AND NAVIGABLE WATERS

          * * * * * * *

           CHAPTER 26--WATER POLLUTION PREVENTION AND CONTROL

          * * * * * * *

Sec. 1321. Oil and hazardous substance liability

    (a) Definitions.--
          * * * * * * *
    (c) Federal Removal Authority.--
          (1) General removal requirement.--
          * * * * * * *
          (3) Actions in accordance with national contingency 
        plan.--
                  (A) Each Federal agency, State, owner or 
                operator, or other person participating in 
                efforts under this subsection shall act in 
                accordance with the National Contingency Plan 
                or as directed by the President.
                  (B) An owner or operator participating in 
                efforts under this subsection shall act in 
                accordance with the National Contingency Plan 
                and the applicable response plan required under 
                subsection (j) of this section, [or as directed 
                by the President] unless the President or the 
                on-scene coordinator determines that deviation 
                from the plan would provide for a more 
                expeditious or effective response to the spill 
                or mitigation of its environmental effects.
          * * * * * * *
    (j) National Response System.--
          (1) In general.--
          * * * * * * *
          (2) National response unit.--The Secretary of the 
        department in which the Coast Guard is operating shall 
        establish a National Response Unit at Elizabeth City, 
        North Carolina, The Secretary, acting through the 
        National Response Unit--
                  (A) shall compile and maintain a 
                comprehensive computer list of spill removal 
                resources, personnel, and equipment that is 
                available worldwide and within the areas 
                designated by the President pursuant to 
                paragraph (4), which shall be available to 
                Federal and State agencies and the public;
                  (B) shall provide technical assistance, 
                equipment, and other resources requested by a 
                Federal On-Scene Coordinator;
                  (C) shall coordinate use of private and 
                public personnel and equipment to remove a 
                worst case discharge, and to mitigate or 
                prevent a substantial threat of such a 
                discharge, from a vessel, offshore facility, or 
                onshore facility operating in or near an area 
                designated by the President pursuant to 
                paragraph (4);
                  (D) may provide technical assistance in the 
                preparation of Area Contingency Plans required 
                under paragraph (4);
                  (E) shall administer Coast Guard strike teams 
                established under the National Contingency 
                Plan;
                  (F) shall maintain and update a body of 
                information on the environmental effects of 
                various types of oil spills and how best to 
                mitigate those effects, which shall be kept in 
                a form that is readily transmittable to 
                response teams responding to a spill under this 
                Act;
                  (G) shall maintain on file all Area 
                Contingency Plans approved by the President 
                under this subsection; and
                  (H) shall review each of those plans that 
                affects its responsibilities under this 
                subsection.
          * * * * * * *
          (4) Area committees and area contingency plans.--
                  (A) * * *
          * * * * * * *
                  (B) Each Area Committee, under the direction 
                of the Federal On-Scene Coordinator for its 
                area, shall--
                          (i) prepare for its area the Area 
                        Contingency Plan required under 
                        subparagraph (C);
                          (ii) work with State and local 
                        officials to enhance the contingency 
                        planning of those officials and to 
                        assure preplanning of joint response 
                        efforts, including appropriate 
                        procedures for mechanical recovery, 
                        dispersal, shoreline cleanup, 
                        protection of sensitive environmental 
                        areas, and protection, rescue, and 
                        rehabilitation of fisheries and 
                        wildlife, including advance planning 
                        with respect to the closing and 
                        reopening of fishing grounds following 
                        an oil spill; and
                          (iii) work with State and local 
                        officials to expedite decisions for the 
                        use of dispersants and other mitigating 
                        substances and devices.
          * * * * * * *
                  (C) Each Area Committee shall prepare and 
                submit to the President for approval an Area 
                Contingency Plan for its area. The Area 
                Contingency Plan shall--
                          (i) when implemented in conjunction 
                        with the National Contingency Plan, be 
                        adequate to remove a worst case 
                        discharge, and to mitigate or prevent a 
                        substantial threat of such a discharge, 
                        from a vessel, offshore facility, or 
                        onshore facility operating in or near 
                        the area;
                          (ii) describe the area covered by the 
                        plan, including the areas of special 
                        economic or environmental importance 
                        that might be damaged by a discharge;
                          (iii) describe in detail the 
                        responsibilities of an owner or 
                        operator and of Federal, State, and 
                        local agencies in removing a discharge, 
                        and in mitigating or preventing a 
                        substantial threat of a discharge;
                          (iv) list the equipment (including 
                        firefighting equipment), dispersants or 
                        other mitigating substances and 
                        devices, and personnel available to an 
                        owner or operator and Federal, State, 
                        and local agencies, to ensure an 
                        effective and immediate removal of a 
                        discharge, and to ensure mitigation or 
                        prevention of a substantial threat of a 
                        discharge;
                          (v) describe the procedures to be 
                        followed for obtaining an expedited 
                        decision regarding the use of 
                        dispersants;
                          (vi) describe in detail how the plan 
                        is integrated into other Area 
                        Contingency Plans and vessel, offshore 
                        facility, and onshore facility response 
                        plans approved under this subsection, 
                        and into operating procedures of the 
                        National Response Unit;
                          (vii) develop a framework for 
                        advanced planning and decisionmaking 
                        with respect to the closing and 
                        reopening of fishing grounds following 
                        an oil spill, including protocols and 
                        standards for the closing and reopening 
                        of fishing areas;
                          (viii) compile a list of local 
                        scientists, both inside and outside 
                        Federal Government service, with 
                        expertise in the environmental effects 
                        of spills of the types of oil typically 
                        transported in the area, who may be 
                        contacted to provide information or 
                        where appropriate, participate in 
                        meetings of the scientific support term 
                        convened in response to a spill;
                          [(vii)] (ix) include any other 
                        information the President requires; and
                          [(viii)] (x) be updated periodically 
                        by the Area Committee.
                  (D) The President shall--
                          (i) review and approve Area 
                        Contingency Plans under this paragraph; 
                        [and]
                          (ii) periodically review Area 
                        Contingency Plans so approved[.]; and
                          (iii) acting through the Under 
                        Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and 
                        Atmosphere and in consultation with the 
                        Administration, the Commissioner of 
                        Food and Drugs, the Director of the 
                        United States Fish and Wildlife 
                        Service, and other affected Federal and 
                        State agencies, issue guidance for Area 
                        Committees to use in developing for 
                        Area Committees to use in developing a 
                        framework for advanced planning and 
                        decisionmaking with respect to the 
                        closing and reopening of fishing 
                        grounds following an oil spill, which 
                        guidance shall include model protocols 
                        and standards for the closing and 
                        reopening of fishing areas.
          * * * * * * *
                              ----------                              


                           UNITED STATES CODE

                           TITLE 46--SHIPPING

          * * * * * * *

         CHAPTER 37--CARRIAGE OF LIQUID BULK DANGEROUS CARGOES

          * * * * * * *

Sec. 3715. Lightering

    (a) * * *
          * * * * * * *
    (b) The Secretary shall prescribe regulations to carry out 
subsection (a) [of this section] that include requirements that 
the Secretary determines will provide protection to the 
environment that is as substantial as is economical and 
technologically feasible. The regulations shall include 
provisions on--
          (1) minimum safe operating conditions, including sea 
        state, wave height, weather, proximity to channels or 
        shipping lanes, and other similarly factors;
          (2) the prevention of spills;
          (3) equipment for responding to spill;
          (4) the prevention of any unreasonable interference 
        with navigation or to other reasonable uses of the high 
        seas, as those uses are defined by treaty, convention, 
        or customary international law;
          (5) the establishment of lightering zones; and
          (6) requirements for communication and prearrival 
        messages.