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The 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Natural Resource Damage Assessment Under the Oil Pollution Act

CRS – The 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill:  Natural Resource Damage Assessment Under the Oil Pollution Act. Adam Vann, Legislative Attorney; Robert Meltz, Legislative Attorney. July 24, 2013

“The estimated 4.1 million barrels of oil released during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill is considered to be the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry and will have an impact on the natural resources of the Gulf region for the foreseeable future. Under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA), federal, state, tribal, and foreign governments may seek compensation for the costs of restoring damaged natural resources from the parties responsible through the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) process. Under the NRDA process, damages are assessed to restore the natural resources to their prior condition and to compensate the public for their lost use of these resources. This report examines the NRDA process under the OPA in the context of the Deepwater Horizon spill. In particular, this report describes the statutory requirements of OPA, the NRDA process under the implementing regulations, and developments in the Gulf of Mexico.”

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