Winston & Strawn Update: Legislative Developments In Response to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Winston & Strawn Update: Legislative Developments In Response to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Bryant Gardner   By Bryant Gardner, Partner, Winston & Strawn

This article focuses on those provisions of the Congressional proposals which, if passed, are likely to most directly affect the maritime industry, leaving aside, for the time being, the proposals to restructure the Minerals Management Service and otherwise broadly reform the offshore leasing and exploration process. This article was originally published in 8 Benedict's Maritime Bulletin 161, 186 (2010).

“Since the initial flurry of legislative activity following the April 20, 2010 explosion of the DEEPWATER HORIZON and resulting spill, the House has passed its version of consolidated reform legislation, the Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources Act of 2010, the CLEAR Act (H.R. 2534) and also the Securing Protections for the Injured from Limitations of Liability Act (H.R. 5503),” writes Bryant Gardner. “In the Senate, where the Democrats' control is more tenuous, Senator Reid (D-NV) has not yet been able to secure passage of that body's companion proposal, the Clean Energy Jobs and Oil Company Accountability Act of 2010 (S. 3663).”

“Each of these proposals includes provisions from the bills that bubbled to the surface following the April 20th catastrophe, including sweeping changes to the regulation of offshore drilling, oil pollution liability, and maritime liability more generally,” reports the author. “This Window on Washington will focus on those provisions of the proposals which, if passed, are likely to most directly affect the maritime industry, leaving aside, for the time being, the proposals to restructure the Minerals Management Service and otherwise broadly reform the offshore leasing and exploration process.”

“The CLEAR Act would broadly reopen many of the issues of liability decided with the enactment of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 following the EXXON VALDEZ disaster,” explains Gardner. “While many of these changes would apply only to mobile offshore drilling units, such as the DEEPWATER HORIZON, other changes apply across the spectrum of vessels and maritime actors.”

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Bryant Gardner is a partner in Winston & Strawn's Washington, D.C. office who concentrates his practice in admiralty, maritime, and transportation-related government relations, transactions, and litigation. Mr. Gardner's experience includes regulatory counseling, government contract negotiations and disputes, fleet refinancing, newbuild financing and delivery, Federal Maritime Commission litigation, environmental crimes defense, and matters involving the carriage of hazardous materials. He also has extensive experience representing maritime and other transportation industry clients before Congress, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Maritime Administration, Department of Transportation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Customs Service, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, and other agencies. Access Bryant Gardner’s Martindale-Hubbell profile at martindale.com.

 Penguin After An Oil Spill

Additional Gulf Oil Spill Resources:

Read Bryant Gardner’s earlier Emerging Issue Analysis, Legislative Developments in Response to the DEEPWATER HORIZON.

Take advantage of the LexisNexis Emerging Issues Law Community's Gulf Oil Information Hub and Gulf Oil Spill Resources for more oil spill content.

Subscribe to Benedict's Maritime Bulletin at the Store.

Purchase Benedict on Admiralty at the Store.

Listed below are Related Resources for lexis.com subscribers. If you do not have a lexis.com ID, you can get information on how to subscribe here.

Lexis.com subscribers can find Deepwater Horizon oil spill related filings and Mealey's Oil Spill News here. 

You may also find helpful Vincent Foley’s Emerging Issues Analysis, Backgrounder on Liability, Fines and Penalties for Oil Pollution.

Research Marine Oil Pollution in 3-IX Benedict on Admiralty § 111 (Matthew Bender).

Research the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 in 112-IX Benedict on Admiralty § 112 (Matthew Bender).

Access Benedict on Admiralty.

Access Benedict's Maritime Bulletin and other Admiralty Law resources.

Access additional Admiralty Emerging Issues Analysis.

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