sustainable development impacts of major oil spills

Oil Spillage


The executive branches of Federal, state, and local governments are significantly involved in the implementation of the laws that regard the oil spills. There are some regulations fostered by some bodies like the Drinking water Act of 1974, the Clean Air act of 1963, and the clean water act of 1972. There are Florida state laws that govern oil spillage also. That means that the state may be involved in the regulation of oil spillage. The American citizens do not pay the damages caused by the oil spills but the polluter if he or she is liable. At times the polluter may not be liable, or in position to pay for the damages; thus, The Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund comes in to pay for the damage and restoration cost. Notably, The Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund gets in money from the eight-cent tax on the oil companies.


Oil spillage involves contaminating the water in the sear by the use of oil pour. The spillages may come from human errors or, at times, even accidents. Even though oil remains an essential source of energy, its disadvantages when it comes to oil spilling are countless. Some bodies are involved in cleanup and restoration after an oil spillage.  Whether Federal, State, or local governments, are all involved in the regulation of the oil spillage. The text below discusses more oil spillage.

The executive branches of the local, state and federal governments implement individual regulation concerning the oil spills. These executive branches have laws about different laws but to protect the spillages. Some of the regulations of the federal government have a foundation in the Clean Water Act (1972), the Safe Drinking Water Act (1974), the Clean Air Act (1963), and of course, the revision of the above Acts by constituent states. The roles of the state government regulation in drilling and production of Oil and Gas were legalized by the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (OIGCC), formulated in 1935 Wu et al., 2014).

The Florida State law and regulations are made to try and prevent the spillages. For example, there is the Florida Pollutant Discharge Prevention and Control Act that openly deals with controlling and preventing oil spillages. Some of the agencies that foresee the implementations are the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the Florida Emergency Response Commission, and the Florida Marine Patrol.

The State-specific reporting and cleanup requirements for petroleum is a body established by Florida. Also, Florida, as a state, abides by the rules stipulated by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. The Clean Water Act and the Water Pollution Control Act are the basis unto which the containment of spills and cleanup measures are formulated. When the spiller does not take any action towards the spills done, the federal government takes the responsibility of removing the spill. The Clean Water Act stipulated to place of the National Oil and Hazardous Material Pollution Contingency Plan, thus the Federal involvement in the Cleanup strategies.

On the other hand, the state may be involved in the cleanup functions. The cleanup containment is stipulated by Chapter 376 under the Florida Statutes; “Pollutant Discharge Prevention and Removal. Thus, there are rules and regulations stipulated by both the state government and Federal government together with local government. These regulations are distinct in oil spillages.

On the question of whom to pay the damages, some strategies ought to be followed. It is worth noting that the public in America pays for the ultimate price. The spiller frequently foots the bills to restore the spilled oil. To a broader view, the coasts are priceless; thus, the importance of protecting it. It is because of the worth of these coasts that the dollars of the federal government are given investments to make sure that the specialists and the experts are ready at all times to counter any oil spillage if it occurs.

On an occasion where there is an oil spillage, distinct rules stipulated guide on who exactly is supposed to pay for the spillage. Some activities follow the oil spillage incident, for example, evaluating the damages on the environment and evaluating the restoration cost. Such rules include those laid down by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990.

Rules are distinct on whom to pay roe the damages caused by the oil spills. The cost of damage and the restoration cost is calculated, and the cost supposed to be paid by the respective bodies. The 1990 Oil Pollution act stipulates the required procedures supposed to be followed in paying off the damage and restoration costs. It is also worth noting that the  Oil Pollution Act was formulated after the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989 (Wang et al., 2015). Under the act, it is deducible that the polluter of rather the person who caused the oil spillage to pay for the damage and restoration costs entirely. In-car accident incidents, the cost is spread to the insurance company. The US Coast Guard established a source of funding for the state and federal agencies. These agencies are paid, so be able to remove instead do a cleanup and restoration program. Mostly the US Coast Guards stand-in in occasions where the polluter is not liable. Nevertheless, if the polluter is found liable to the oil spillage, then it is upon the polluter to pay for the damage and restoration cost.

The Oil Pollution Act clearly states that the involved polluter parties should be able to pay for the restoration cost. If these parties are held liable, then they have to pay for the restoration cost. These costs are paid to cater to the losses done on natural resources.

However, there are scenarios where the polluter is not liable or in a position to pay for the costs. Thus is such scenarios, the American public is never held accountable or somewhat be burdened by the task of paying for the restoration and damage cost. The Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund is stepping in to pay for the damage caused by the polluter if he or she is not liable or in a position to pay for the damage. The money from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund came from the tax taxed from the imported oil and produced domestically. The companies that deal with oil regularly pay a certain amount of tax to this fund to cater to the cost if the polluter is unknown, unwilling, and maybe even not liable to pay (Wang et al., 2015).

However, it will be insensible if one says that American citizens are not involved in paying anything. The community will recover from the damage if these damages are handled immediately. Notably, the damages have traces in the environment and the economic dimensions of human nature. The restoration may be done by the professionals trained to respond to the emergency calls as far as oil spillages are concerned. In training these professionals, public dollar taxes are used to train the professionals.

The Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund gets in funds from the eight-cent tax on the oil companies. The tax is taxed on an individual barrel of oil. Also, the Coast Guard Administers Fund is utilized for reimbursing the Coast Guard cost for removing the oil. Besides, Congress sets aside capital of $134 million on the company’s that are involved in Oils for restoration and payment of damages Wu et al., 2014).

The impacts of the Oil spills include economic stagnation. However, the calculation of the loss is not easy since it is as diverse as the human economic activities are. However, there is a baseline that is drawn and which cuts across all the losses. Also, the damages caused may directly impact the local business’ loss. The government helps to compensate the affected business to avoid pacification of the entire business activities; there are government compensations that help the business to stand up again. The losses include the loss or decline in the market and also affect the tourism sector on the beach.

However, there are compensation regimes that ensure that the business does not incur significant losses. These regimes come up with a recovery plan for compensating the business (Olawuyi 2013). There are two conventions and three funds that work collectively to provide a compensation framework. These conventions include; the 21969 and 1992 International Conventions on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage (CLC), the 1971 and 1992 convention on the establishment of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage (IOPC) and the 2005 Convention for the International Fund for Compensation Supplementary Fund. Additionally, to reduce the loss after an oil spillage, the company ought to save some operating costs. The savings always help the business to stand up again, and after compensation, the business will continue to flourish.

The legal remedies can be used to the advantage of the company. For example, the legal remedy will require the polluter to clean up the spillage and do the restoration.  The remedy can turn to be advantageous to the business will benefit from the cleanup and restoration programs. One of the advantages, in the cleanup program, the polluter may require personnel who, at times, is based within the business, thus offering this personnel a job. Also, the fact that the legal domain advocates for cleanup and restoration programs, the business may regain its customers, thus an advantage.

The legal dimension also advocates for compensation, which may act as capital to the business (Olawuyi 2013). When the business pulls back the compensation money and uses it as the capital, it may realize more profits, thus turning to be an advantage.

Some policies that ideally would protect the beach community include the removal of oil pipelines along or near the beach. The pipelines should be placed far away from the beach to reduce spillages (Olawuyi 2013). At times, significant spillages that occur come as a result of a pipeline bursting. When it burst, more of the oil may come into contact with water and, in turn, may bring about oil spillage. If removed near the beaches, a burst of the pipelines or leak would seldom come in contact with water; thus, the beach community will be safe.

Also, the beach communities have to be protected from the problems arising from oil spillages by building a water refinery and purification center at every beach. These centers will be tasked with the purification of water in the beaches, and thus the beach communities safeguarded.

Besides, the major and main super Highway should be built ways from the beaches. The oil tankers that transport oil over long distances should follow these highways built away from the beaches. When they follow these roads, there will be a reduction in accidents, and even when the accidents occur, the spillage will not be so intense; thus, the beach community protected.

There should be prevention measures that will prevent the oil from reaching the mainland in an open marine spill. These prevention measures include using placing biodegrades near the shores that would speed up the degradation of any oil spill that reaches the shore. Thus when the degradation is speeded, the beach community is protected.

The initial cost of initiating the above policies is relatively expensive.  However, the implementation cost after the policies have been founded is cheap. For example, removing all the pipelines near the beach will be reasonably expensive, the same as building highways far from the beach. Nevertheless, after the pipelines and the highways are made, they will reduce the cost since they will reduce the distance, depending on the destination. They will these infrastructures will also reduce the continuous costs that the government uses to compensate the beach business in case of an oil spillage. These highways and pipelines may be used for a very long period and thus reliable, reducing the operational cost.

Also, placing the biodegrades near the shores will seem to be expensive at the start since it will require the buying the biodegrades, which are relatively expensive. Nevertheless, after they are bought, they can be used for quite a long period and at the same time reduce the spillages coming from the sea.

Besides, the oil spillage could be controlled by placing the trained agencies around the beaches. These professionals should be placed near the beaches so that they can counter any spillage at a faster rate in case it occurs. These specialists equipped by appropriate education have to be distributed in all the beaches and stay instead be given residents around these beaches (Wu et al., 2014). Notably, it is the public taxes that have been used to educate them, and thus they should work in work to protect the same public while staying with them on these beaches.

However, policies, like building superhighways and using pipelines built far from the beaches, have to be adapted because of the importance accrued to the beach communities

In conclusion, Oil spillage has divers effect on every part of human life. An oil spill in one place may affect the plants growing around that place, the animals, mostly the aquatic animals and even human beings. As discussed above, a business located along the shore, together with the beaches, may suffer some losses associated with the oil spill. It is these effects that have attracted the attention of the federal, state, and even the local governments. There are bodies and agencies, as stipulated above, that are concretely concerned with oil spillage. Such agencies include the US Coast Guards that get reimbursement from the Coast Guard Administration Fund. The Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, on the other hand, is responsible for paying for the damage and restoration cost incase the polluter is not liable, unknown, or not in a position to pay for the damages. Besides, some policies may benefit the beach community, just as discussed above.





Olawuyi, D. S. (2013). Legal and sustainable development impacts of major oil spills. Consilience, (9), 1-15.

Wang, S., Peng, X., Zhong, L., Tan, J., Jin, S., Cao, X., … & Sun, R. (2015). An ultralight, elastic, cost-effective, and highly recyclable superabsorbent from micro fibrillated cellulose fibres for oil spillage cleanup. Journal of Materials Chemistry A3(16), 8772-8781.

Wu, Z. Y., Li, C., Liang, H. W., Zhang, Y. N., Wang, X., Chen, J. F., & Yu, S. H. (2014). Carbon nanofiber aerogels for emergent cleanup of oil spillage and chemical leakage under harsh conditions. Scientific reports4, 4079.




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