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OPA 90 10: The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 After Ten Years

Journal of Maritime Law and Commerce, Vol. 32, p. 135, 2001

40 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2011  

Steven R. Swanson

Hamline University - School of Law

Date Written: January 1, 2001

Abstract

Ten years ago, after the Exxon Valdez incident in Prince William Sound, Congress quickly passed, and President Bush promptly signed, the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA). In order for a maritime oil spill regime to work effectively, it must provide uniform and predictable rules that encourage prevention, quick cleanup, and reasonable compensation. A decade after OPA’s enactment, this article assesses how well the Act has met these criteria. Reviewing the setting in which OPA became law, the relevant statutory provisions, and the body of case law that has developed since OPA’s passage, this analysis reveals that, by and large, OPA has failed to meet fully the desirable standards of predictability and uniformity.

Keywords: Oil Pollution Act of 1990, Clean Water Act, Exxon, OPA, federal legislation, waters, Shipowner’s Limitation of Liability Act of 1851, Limitation Act

Suggested Citation

Swanson, Steven R., OPA 90 10: The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 After Ten Years (January 1, 2001). Journal of Maritime Law and Commerce, Vol. 32, p. 135, 2001. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1955647

Steven R. Swanson (Contact Author)

Hamline University - School of Law ( email )

1536 Hewitt Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55104-1237
United States

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