Oil Spills

News & Analysis as of

Colorado's New Flood Impact Rules and the Effect on State or Local Control of the Oil and Gas Industry

On Monday, March 2, 2015, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) adopted new rules to limit the impact of spills in flood-prone areas of Colorado, like the ones that occurred in the Front Range and eastern...more

Status of Oil and Gas-related Bills Proposed in California’s 2015-2016 Legislative Session

February 27, 2015 was the deadline for lawmakers to introduce legislation to the 2015-2016 California Legislative Session and several bills related to oil and gas activities were introduced.  Below is a summary of those...more

Regulators Respond to Recent Crude by Rail Incidents: Ten Considerations Before Shipping Crude by Rail to Mitigate Exposure

Last week’s derailments in West Virginia and Canada bring more scrutiny to the already heavily scrutinized shipment of crude by rail given the real-time media coverage of the incidents. Last Friday, Oregon Senator Ron...more

Insurance Recovery Law - February 2015 #2

Separate Contract Serves to Limit Insurance Coverage for Deepwater Horizon Spill, Texas Supreme Court Rules - Why it matters: The Texas Supreme Court rejected BP’s $750 million claim for coverage under Transocean...more

Crude-by-Rail Update: What to Expect From Recent Crude Oil Derailments

These are uncertain and stressful times for all involved in the transportation of crude oil by rail. Since February 14, two fiery derailments in West Virginia and Ontario have refocused an unwelcome spotlight on the necessity...more

New Jersey Supreme Court Rules Unanimously: There is No Statute of Limitations Defense to Contribution Actions Under the Spill Act

On January 26, 2015, the New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously ruled in Morristown Associates v. Grant Oil Co. that the general six-year statute of limitations for injury to real property does not apply to contribution claims...more

Oil Production and Storage Facilities Must Maintain Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plans

Small oil production and storage facilities often overlook their obligations to develop and implement oil Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) plans. These requirements have been issued by the USEPA under the...more

International Organisations: Immunity From Suit And Legal Process

An international organisation is not a State, and is only afforded immunity to the extent granted by statute. It is relatively uncommon for international organisations to come before the English courts, though economically...more

Russian Legislation Update

In This Issue: - Currency Control - Banking - Patronage of Arts - Environment - Employment/Foreign Citizens - Excerpt from Patronage of Arts: On 4 November 2014 the President signed Federal...more

Must Calif. Dump Its Oil Spill Prevention Regime?

On Oct. 7, 2014, the Association of American Railroads and two of its member rail carriers filed suit against California's Office of Spill Prevention and Response in an effort to strike down the state's recent effort to...more

Judge Barbier BP Attempt to Limit Clean Water Act Fines

On September 4, 2014, District Court Judge Carl Barbier issued his “Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law – Phase One Trial” in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill litigation. In his 153 page opinion, Judge Barbier found BP...more

Deepwater Horizon ruling puts focus on prevention

Last week’s decision by District Judge Carl Barbier exposes the UK-headquartered energy giant to up to $18bn in fines for the 2010 drillship incident because, under the same US laws that cover tanker spills, civil penalties...more

Rules for Rail Transport of Crude Oil and Ethanol Still a Work in Progress

In response to rail accidents over the past several years involving crude oil and ethanol, the U.S. Department of Transportation (“DOT”) has been working with industry stakeholders and the National Transportation Safety Board...more

State and Local Communities Respond to Crude-by-Rail Safety Issue

July 6 marked the one year anniversary of the crude oil derailment in Lac Megantic Quebec, which significantly heightened throughout North America the awareness about safety issues surrounding crude by rail. This heightened...more

A Day At The Beach: Fifth Circuit Rejects Expansive Situs Definition For LHWCA Comp In BP Beach Cleaning Case

The Fifth Circuit recently reversed, per curiam, a district court decision finding that a contract worker cleaning oiled beaches near Grand Isle, Louisiana, in the wake of the 2010 Macondo oil spill qualified as a...more

California Legislators Propose Two Bills on Crude by Rail

Two measures have been introduced in the California legislature to respond to the growth of crude-by-rail volume in the state. State Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) has introduced SB 1319, which would expand...more

Increased Crude Oil Rail Shipments Drive Boost in Funding for DOT HazMat Programs

By a vote of 29-1, on June 5, 2014, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed legislation (S. 2438) funding fiscal year (FY) 2015 activities for the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). DOT’s programs for crude oil and...more

DOT Issues Emergency Order For Transport Of Crude Oil From Bakken Shale Region (UPDATE)

On May 23, 2014, the Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration clarified its May 7, 2014, Emergency Order Regarding Notification to Communities of Bakken Crude Oil Shipments through the release of...more

Industry Takes Steps to Address Safety of Crude Oil Shipments

The Department of Transportation (DOT) recently issued an Emergency Order (EO) requiring all rail carriers to notify State Emergency Response Commissions regarding the expected routing of their unit trains of Bakken crude...more

Virginia Governor McAuliffe Announces State Rail Safety Task Force on Hazardous Material Transport

While federal officials continue their efforts to address railroad transportation of petroleum crude oil (crude-by-rail), Virginia intends to make a parallel but somewhat broader effort with respect to hazardous material rail...more

Department of Transportation Issues Order Requiring Rail Carriers To Notify States of Crude Shipments

In response to recent derailments of trains transporting crude, the Department of Transportation issued an emergency order pursuant to its regulatory authority over the transportation of hazardous materials. The order applies...more

DOT Issues Emergency Order For Transport Of Crude Oil From Bakken Shale Region

On May 7, 2014, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issued an Emergency Order requiring all railroads operating trains containing bulk quantities of UN 1267, petroleum crude oil, Class 3, that either originates or is...more

DOT Issues Emergency Order on Bakken Crude Oil Shipments

On May 7th, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issued an Emergency Order (EO) requiring all rail carriers to notify State Emergency Response Commissions (SERCs) regarding the expected routing of their unit trains of...more

Oil and Water – How the Galveston Oil Spill Proved The Two Don’t Mix

The Galveston Bay oil spill occurred, coincidentally, on the 25th anniversary of Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound, Alaska. The Exxon Valdez oil spill is now considered to be one of the worst environmental...more

Oil Spill Derailments Pose Challenge For Insurers

In the past year alone, five fiery oil train derailments have made front-page news by causing both catastrophic bodily injury and property damage in rural towns across Canada and the United States, including the 74-car...more

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