Limited Immunity for Persons Responding to Oil Spills Act

Limited Immunity for Persons Responding to Oil Spills Act


 ALEC’s model Limited Immunity for Person’s Responding to Oil Spills Act is designed to improve the nation’s ability to respond to large oil spills in coastal and tidal areas through reducing risk of liability for persons responding to oil spills.

Model Legislation

{Title, enacting clause, etc.}

Section 1. {Short Title.} This act shall be known and may be cited as the Limited Immunity for Persons Responding to Oil Spills Act.

Section 2. {Definitions.} The following words and phrases when used in this act shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

(A)  “Damages.” Damages of any kind for which liability may exist under the laws of the State resulting from, arising out of, or related to the discharge or threatened discharge of oil.

(B)   “Discharge.” Any emission (other than natural seepage), intentional or unintentional, and includes, but is not limited to, spilling, leaking, pumping, pouring, emitting, emptying, or dumping.

(C)   “Federal On-Scene Coordinator.” The federal official pre-designated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or the U.S. Coast Guard to coordinate and direct federal responses under subpart D, or the official designated by the lead agency to coordinate and direct removal under subpart E, of the National Contingency Plan.

(D)  “Natural Contingency Plan.” The National Contingency Plan prepare and published under section 311 (d) of the Federal Water Pollution Contract Act (33 U.S.C. 1321 (d)), as amended by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, Pub. L. No.101-380, 104 Stat. 484 (1990).

(E)   “Oil” means oil of any kind form including, but not limited to, petroleum, fuel oil, sludge, oil refuse, and oil mixed with wastes other than dredge spoil.

(F)    “Person.” An individual, corporation, partnership, association, State, municipality, commission, or political subdivision of a State, or any interstate body.

(G)  “Removal costs.” The costs of removal that are incurred after a discharge or oil spill has occurred or, in any case in which there is a substantial threat of a discharge of oil, the costs to prevent, minimize, or mitigate oil pollution from such an incident.

(H)  “Responsible Party.” A responsible party as defined under Section 1001 of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, Pub. L. No. 101-380, 104 Stat.484 (1990).

Section 3. {Exemption from Liability.}

(A)  Notwithstanding any other provisions of law, a person is not liable for removal costs or damages which result from actions taken or omitted to be taken in the course of rendering care, assistance, or advice consistent with the National Contingency Plan or as otherwise directed by the Federal On-Scene Coordinator (or by the State official with responsibility for oil spill response.)

(B)  Subsection (A) does not apply to:

(1)   to a responsible party;

(2)   to personal injury or wrongful death; or

(3)   grossly negligent or engages in willful misconduct

(C)  A responsible party is liable for any removal costs and damages that another person is relieved of under subsection (A).

(D)  Nothing in the section affects the liability of a responsible party for oil spill response under State law.

Section 4. {Severability Clause.}

Section 5. {Repealer Clause.}

Section 6. {Effective Date.}

Approved by ALEC Board of Legislators in 1995.

Reapproved by ALEC Board of Legislators on January 28, 2013.

Reapproved by ALEC Board of Directors on November 16, 2017.