Murkowski Introduces Foreign Spill Protection Act

Today U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced the Foreign Spill Protection Act of 2016, ensuring taxpayers are not stuck with the bill if oil from a foreign spill spreads into American waters. As the law currently stands, responsible parties would only face up to $1 billion in damages for oil spills that originate in other countries’ waters and eventually impact American waters. The Foreign Spill Protection Act amends the Oil Pollution Act (OPA) of 1990 by correcting a gap to make it possible to hold a foreign entity responsible for claims arising from pollution incidents.

“Sadly we know from personal experiences in Alaska just how devastating oil spills can be. As shipping and activity in the Arctic increases, we must ensure America’s interests are protected. Our economy relies heavily on the health of our waters. This common-sense bill will make sure that those responsible for causing a spill are responsible for cleaning it up,” said Senator Murkowski. “I’m committed to doing all I can to protect Alaskan communities for having to pay for costly clean-up efforts. This legislation is not only good for the health of the environment, but also the well-being of the nation’s taxpayers.”

The bill updates OPA ’90 to define a liable responsible party for oil spills to include areas “located seaward of the exclusive economic zone, including facilities located in, on, or under any land within a foreign country.” See attachment for full text of the bill.

Congressman Don Young (R-AK) supported companion legislation in the House of Representatives.