Oil Spill Legislation in the 112th Congress [February 21, 2012]   [open pdf - 335KB]

"Congressional interest in oil spill legislation has historically waxed and waned. In the wake of recent oil spills, some Members have expressed an increased level of interest in oil spill legislation. At other times, when petroleum prices are high and oil spills are a more distant memory, oil spill issues have typically generated minimal interest among policymakers. The 2010 'Deepwater Horizon' oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico continues to generate some interest in a variety of oil spill-related issues. In addition, two recent pipeline spills--Kalamazoo River (2010) and Yellowstone River (2011)--have spurred related interest. This report identifies legislation that addresses oil spill-related issues. For the purposes of this report, oil spill-related issues include (1) oil spill prevention; (2) oil spill preparedness; (3) oil spill response; (4) oil spill liability and compensation; and (5) Gulf Coast restoration. […] On January 3, 2012, the President signed as P.L. 112-90 one bill with oil spill-related provisions--H.R. 2845 (the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011). Among other provisions, this act increases civil penalties for violating safety requirements and requires automatic and remote-controlled shutoff valves on newly constructed transmission pipelines. It also directs the Department of Transportation to analyze leak detection systems, and after a review by Congress, issue requirements based on this analysis. The House passed H.R. 3408 (the PIONEERS Act) on February 16, 2012, which, among other provisions, would create a Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund in the U.S. Treasury, financed by 80% of any 'Deepwater Horizon'-related penalties, settlements, and fines under CWA Section 311."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R41684
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