Preemption, Remedies, and Criminal Liability: Environmental Issues and the Ramifications of Huron Portland Cement Co. v. City of Detroit

As concern for the safety and protection of the environment and natural resources has grown, the legislative efforts of the federal government have correspondingly expanded. This Article states that maritime transportation of oil and other hazardous substances now faces one of the most comprehensive schemes of federal regulation and that such legislation is often prompted by an occurrence that draws sharp focus on the maritime industry and the dangers inherent in the maritime transportation of oil and hazardous substances.
The Article notes that the regulations of the various states and localities are interwoven with this comprehensive federal system. These regulatory schemes have been put in place to protect the populations and resources under local jurisdiction as well as to ensure compensation for expenses incurred by local authorities as a result of pollution incidents. While one might argue that this multilayered system of federal, state, and local regulations offends the uniformity premise of maritime law or that the federal government's activities in this area would indicate a preemption in the field of environmental regulation, the Article explains that courts have consistently allowed states and localities to exercise police power in the area of pollution absent an actual conflict with federal legislation and regulation.