Judge Nullifies State Oil Spill Law

Thursday, July 27, 2006
A federal judge has nullified Massachusetts’ landmark Oil Spill Prevention Act, striking down regulations on oil shipping in Buzzards Bay that included mandatory tug escorts and navigational routes as well as minimum staffing. U.S. District Judge Joseph L. Tauro ruled the state violated federal law because those areas fall under Coast Guard jurisdiction. He said the state regulations ''are pre-empted, invalid and unconstitutional under the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution.'' The Massachusetts Legislature passed the Oil Spill Act in 2004, amid warnings from the oil industry that it was stepping on federal jurisdiction. Lawmakers moved quickly to respond to a 98,000-gallon oil spill in Buzzards Bay on April 27, 2003, when a Bouchard Transportation Co. barge drifted off course and struck an underwater ledge. The federal Justice Department filed suit after the law was signed by Gov. Mitt Romney, saying such regulatory matters belonged to the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard is moving to adopt tug escort requirements for the Northeast, including Buzzards Bay. But critics say the Coast Guard is moving too slowly, and its proposed regulations are less stringent than the state's. Tauro granted the request of the Justice Department and the oil shipping industry to invalidate major portions of the state law, based on written arguments. In a ruling released on July 25, Tauro said the state ''is permanently enjoined from enforcing the challenged statutes.'' Tauro noted that he was not deciding the merits of the regulations, but the state's authority to enforce them over the federal government. He also struck down a provision requiring the use of local pilots in oil shipping in Buzzards Bay. Attorney General Tom Reilly was considering an appeal. Legislators and environmentalists who wrote the state law in response to the Bouchard oil spill were outraged by the court decision. The Bouchard spill polluted 93 miles of coastline, caused the deaths of at least 450 federally protected birds, and temporarily closed 180,000 acres of shellfish beds. Bouchard paid a $10m fine for violating the Clean Water Act. Franklin Robert Hill, 54, of Jacksonville, Fla., the first mate of the tugboat that caused the oil spill, was sentenced to five months in prison after pleading guilty to the same charge last year. (Source: Cape Cod Times)

Maritime Today


The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

Maritime Reporter June 2016 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Legal

Milton to Replace Retiring Kelly, President, ExxonMobil

Alan Kelly, president of ExxonMobil Fuels, Lubricants & Specialties Marketing Company, has announced his intention to retire effective Aug. 1, 2016, after more than 34 years of service.

UASC Fully Compliant VGM Lift Now

United Arab Shipping Company (UASC) announced today the conclusion of a 100% compliant Verified Gross Mass (VGM) lift of 159 UASC containers on board CSCL’s Saturn.

Netherlands Opts for ‘Flexible’ Container Weighing

As of July 1, shippers and freight forwarders are required to verify the weight of a container before the container is loaded onto a ship.   The Netherlands’

Coast Guard

Tanker Allision on the Piscataqua River

The U.S. Coast Guard says it is continuing to monitor the condition of the chemical tanker Chem Venus, after it allided with three unoccupied, moored sailboats

Beijing Slams South China Sea Court Proceedings

Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling set for July 12. An international court said it would deliver a hotly anticipated ruling in the Philippines' case against

BSM Acquires USCG Qualship 21 Program Approval

Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement is proud to announce that it has received US Coast Guard (USCG) Qualship 21 Program approval for the BSM India-managed, Algoma-owned

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Port Authority Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.0712 sec (14 req/sec)