On the thirtieth anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan introduced a new bill that would modify and permanently reauthorize the federal Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund.
Named Spill Response and Prevention Surety Act, the new legislation maintains the existing nine-cent-per-barrel tax while establishing a USD 7 billion tax collection ceiling and USD 5 billion collection floor, indexed for inflation, to ensure the fund is adequately resourced over time.
The single incident payout claim would be doubled to USD 2 billion, and the natural resource damage claim would also be doubled to USD 1 billion.
The old Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund was established under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 to ensure the federal government is able to pay for the swift removal of spilled oil and compensate individuals, communities and businesses impacted by a spill disaster.
“The Exxon Valdez oil spill taught us that speed and well-placed infrastructure can mean the difference between a small, containable incident and a full-scale environmental disaster,” said Senator Sullivan.
“It is fitting that on the thirty-year anniversary of that devastating spill in Prince William Sound, we introduce legislation to permanently replenish and silo the federal fund that enables government agencies to quickly and capably deploy vessels and response measures to contain the release of oil in an American waterway, and make whole those communities and individuals impacted by a spill.”
The senator from Alaska also noted that the legislation would create a biennial USD 10 million response and prevention grant program for research and technological development, and an annual USD 25 million prevention grant program for state programs to upgrade equipment and aging infrastructure, support strategic planning, and address abandoned or derelict vessels.