Name: Oil Pollution Act (OPA)
Draft Year: 1990
Amendment Years: N/A
None This legislation is national
Agency in Charge: Environment Protection Agencies

Why was it established?
In the year 1989, a oil tanker, The Exxon Valdez, struck the Bligh reef and spilled up to 10.8 million gallons of oil into the Prince William Sound located of the shores of Alaska. The oil spill affected many species of animals and humans. Reason for extensive damage is due to the supplies being unreachable at a moments notice and some of the ships were being repaired and were unusable at the moment. Exxon employees and many Alaskan citizens worked together to help clean out the sound. With the use of Dispersant, Booms & Skimmers, and High pressure hot water hoses, much of the oil was cleaned up. Some of the oil did get into the sand and soil on the coast line, but really affected the pebble beaches. Many species died immediately; hundreds of thousands of seabirds, at least a thousand sea otters, 12 river otters, 300 harbor seals, 250 bald eagles, and 22 orcas. Many eggs from salmon and birds where also affected and killed off. Some species also had a declination in population years after the oil spill. This event is the main cause of this legislation.



Impacts of OPA
-Improved Americas ability to prevent oil spills
-Improved Americas ability to respond to oil spills
-Reduced number of oil spills
-All ships are to now be accompanied by double hulls


What does the law do?
-Better ability to prevent and respond to oil spills -Government is able to provide money and resources necessary to clean oil spills
-Established the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund (can give up to 1 billion dollars in emergency response funds)
-Expansion of the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (Federal government must direct oil spill cleanups (certain types), Area Committees create Area Contingency Plans, owners/operators of vessels must have a Facility Response Plan for the vessel)
-Penalties for regulatory noncompliance increased
-State government allowed to create laws pertaining to oil spills

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