The U.S. Coast Guard has published proposed changes to the liability limits for oil spills under the 1990 Oil Pollution Act. The increased limits, published in the Federal Register on August 19, 2014, were adjusted to meet the Consumer Price index. The notice also proposed simplified procedures for making future liability limit adjustments in accordance with the Consumer Price index.
The proposal addresses limits for vessels, deepwater ports, and onshore facilities. The proposal also seeks to clarify the application of the Oil Pollution Act to two classes of vessels designated as oil spill response vessels.
The new proposed limits include an 8.2% increase in the liability limits on ocean-going vessels, to $25.4 million, or $3,500 per gross ton. The proposed limit on deepwater offshore ports also reflects an increase of 8.2%. The largest proposed increase – 15.6% -- would apply to onshore facilities that spill into waterways. The full text of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking can be found at https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/08/19/2014-19314/consumer-price-index-adjustments-of-oil-pollution-act-of-1990-limits-of-liability-vessels-deepwater. Public comment deadline is October 20, 2014.
For more information, or for assistance with your comment on the proposed rules, contact Toni Ellington at (504) 599-8500.