Authority for Trust Fund: The Oil Pollution Act (OPA) of 1990 (33 USC 2701-2761) was implemented after the Exxon Valdez spill off the coast of Alaska.

The law does three things:

  1. lays out the protocols for response and cleanup
  2. defines liability related to the spill
  3. creates a trust fund for damages payments.

What it contains: The fund is made up of two parts:

  1. An Emergency Fund used for reimbursements related to removal and remediation.
  2. A Principal Fund which is for payments to individuals, municipality and states with injury claims.

Types of claims and who may file:

  1. Property damage – available to people or entities that own or lease the property
  2. Boat damage – available to those who own or lease boats
  3. Loss of profits and earning capability
  4. Loss of subsistence use of natural resources – Anyone who, for subsistence means loses the natural resources upon which they depended
  5. Loss of government revenue – Federal, State and Local governments

How to file a claim: Your claim must meet the requirements for filing under the OPA, which are:

  1. Must have occurred after 1990
  2. Spill incident must involve oil discharge that threaten to discharge into the navigable waters of the U.S.
  3. Must have submitted the claim to the responsible party 90 days to settle your claim before submitting a claim to the trust fund.

In this case, the responsible party has been identified as British Petroleum and Transocean. Per the OPA, they should be prepared to settle valid claims under the act.

Once the requirements are met, the claims package must be sent to the National Pollution Funds Center.

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