Oversight of the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, Hearing Before the Committee on Environment and Public Works, United States Senate, One Hundred Fifth Congress, Second Session, Narragansett, Rhode Island, December 10, 1998 [open pdf - 3MB]
From the opening statement of Hon. John H. Chafee, U.S. Senator from the State of Rhode Island: "Now, the purpose of this hearing is to examine how well the Oil Pollution Act claims process is working. The focus of the hearing is on those claims that are presented to the Government for payment. The Oil Pollution Act provides that a private party or a Federal, State or tribal natural resource trustee may present its claim to the Government for payments if negotiations with the party that caused the RP, the responsible party, caused-if the negotiations with the responsible party failed, in other words, if you're not getting satisfaction from the responsible party, then under the Oil Pollution Act the private party can present its claim to the Federal Government. Today we'll hear from two panels regarding two different types of claims against the Oil Spill Liabilities Trust Fund. The first panel will address claims by natural resource trustees against the fund. Until recently, the opinion of the Comptroller General was that the managers of the Fund, the Coast Guard's National Pollution Fund Center, could not pay, now this is very important, could not pay any claims for natural resource damage without Congress's approval. The Justice Department reversed that and so the National Pollution Funds Center is staffing a new office to process these claims. Now, how the National Pollution Funds Center will dispose of natural resource claims is extremely important here. Craig O'Connor, Mr. O'Connor, Deputy General Counsel of NOAA, will testify that the State and Federal trustees at NOAA and the Department of Interior recently completed the very first natural resource damage assessment and restoration plan under the new 1996 regulations required by the Oil Pollution Act, so we're working under some relatively new regulations here." Statements, letters, and materials submitted for the record include those of the following: John H. Chafee, Albert B. Christopher, Stephen Morin, Craig O'Connor, Daniel Sheehan, John Sorelein, Frank Blount, William W. Harsch, Barry M. Harman, Bruce F. Kopf, Raymond Nally.
S. Hrg. 105-943; Senate Hearing 105-943
Government Printing Office, Congressional Hearings: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/chearings/index.html