Deepwater Horizon: Removal Costs, Civil Damages, Crimes, Civil Penalties, and State Remedies in Oil Spill Cases

What is the current scheme in the United States for dealing with oil pollution? This Article examines the question from several perspectives. These include the basic liability regime, including removal costs and damages. OPA has gone further than any other statute in providing for both public and private remedies. The discussion will cover the basis for liability, parties responsible for paying removal costs and damages, defenses to liability, damages recoverable by governmental entities and private parties, limitation of liability, including loss of the right to limit, insurance, and other forms of financial responsibility. This Article will briefly address the claims procedure, including claims made against the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund. This Article will then discuss possible criminal prosecutions followed by administrative and civil penalties. Finally, this Article will look at choice-of-law issues with particular attention devoted to the role of state laws.