S. 2643 (100th): Oil Pollution Liability and Compensation Act of 1988

Jul 14, 1988 (100th Congress, 1987–1988)
Died (Referred to Committee)
George Mitchell
Senator from Maine
Related Bills
S. 2799 (99th) was a previous version of this bill.

Passed Senate
Last Action: Sep 28, 1986

S. 686 (101st) was a re-introduction of this bill in a later Congress.

Passed Senate
Last Action: Aug 04, 1989


This bill was introduced on July 14, 1988, in a previous session of Congress, but was not enacted.

Introduced Jul 14, 1988
Referred to Committee Jul 14, 1988
Full Title

A bill to consolidate and improve Federal laws providing compensation and establishing liability for oilspills.


No summaries available.

5 cosponsors (3R, 2D) (show)

Senate Environment and Public Works

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Primary Source

THOMAS.gov (The Library of Congress)

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GovTrack’s Bill Summary

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Library of Congress Summary

The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.

Oil Pollution Liability and Compensation Act of 1988 -
Title I - Oil Pollution Liability and Compensation
Establishes the Oil Spill Compensation Fund. Makes vessel owners or operators of onshore or offshore facilities liable for removal costs and for economic or natural resource damages including:
(1) injury or loss of real or personal property or natural resources;
(2) loss of use (including subsistence use) of natural resources;
(3) loss or impairment of income, profits, or earning capacity; and
(4) loss of Federal and State tax, royalty, rental, or net profits share revenue for up to one year.
Establishes liability limits for:
(1) owners and operators of tankers;
(2) other vessel owners;
(3) lessees and permittees of Outer Continental Shelf facilities;
(4) deepwater port facility owners; and
(5) other facility owners.
Excludes interest (including prejudgment interest) from such limits.
Authorizes the President to establish lower liability limits for other onshore or offshore facilities.
Requires the periodic adjustment of liability limits to reflect increases in the Consumer Price Index. Makes the President (or the authorized representative of any State or foreign government) the trustee to act on behalf of the public to recover damages for injury to Federal, State, or foreign government natural resources.
Requires the President, acting through the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to promulgate regulations within two years of enactment of this Act for the assessment of damages for injury to natural resources resulting from an oil discharge.
Requires that such regulations be reviewed and revised (if necessary) every two years.
Makes the owner or operator of a vessel liable under:
(1) this Act;
(2) maritime tort law; and
(3) the Clean Water Act. Directs the President to use the money in the Oil Spill Compensation Fund for specified removal costs and damages.
Requires the President to publish regulations regarding implementation of the authority to obligate the Fund or enter into agreements.
Authorizes the States to obligate the Fund for a maximum of $250,000 per discharge or substantial threat of discharge of oil and to enter into agreements with the President for additional Fund monies.
Provides that the Attorney General, (upon request of the President) shall commence an action against the responsible foreign government or other responsible party to recover any costs paid from the Fund as a result of oil discharge or substantial threat of discharge from a foreign offshore unit.
Requires the owner or operator of certain-size vessels and offshore facilities to establish financial responsibility sufficient to meet the maximum amount of liability to which such persons could be subjected under this Act. Provides for judicial review of regulations and actions under this Act. Grants State courts jurisdiction to hear cases under this Act, as well as under State law.
Permits the States to impose additional liability or requirements regarding oil discharges within their borders.
Retains the rights of the States to maintain a fund for oil pollution compensation.
Authorizes the States to enforce the financial responsibility requirements of this Act. Requires the President to consult with the affected States regarding removal actions.
Requires the President to report to the Congress within one year after enactment of this Act regarding a study on improved methods for oil discharge prevention in restricted waters.
Title II - Conforming Amendments
Makes conforming amendments to the following Acts:
(1) the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Authorization Act;
(2) the Intervention on the High Seas Act;
(3) the Clean Water Act;
(4) the Deepwater Port Act; and
(5) the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. Amends the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Authorization Act to abolish the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Liability Fund. Replaces the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Liability Fund and the Deepwater Port Liability Fund with the Oil Spill Compensation Fund of this Act. Repeals the oil spill liability provisions of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act Amendments of 1978 (thereby replacing the Offshore Oil Pollution Compensation Fund under that Act with the Oil Spill Compensation Fund established in this Act). Amends the Clean Water Act to:
(1) require persons in charge of a vessel or onshore facility who have knowledge of an oil discharge to immediately notify the affected State; and
(2) increase from one year to three years the prison term for failure to report such discharge.

House Republican Conference Summary

The summary below was written by the House Republican Conference, which is the caucus of Republicans in the House of Representatives.

No summary available.

House Democratic Caucus Summary

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