U.S. House Passes Oil Spill Prevention Measure
The House of Representatives unanimously passed the "Delaware River Protection Act" aimed at preventing oil spills by single-hull tank vessels in America's waterways. Representative Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) wrote the Act after the November 2004 oil spill by the Greek single-hull tanker "Athos I," which spilled 265,000 gallons into the Delaware River.
The measure would increase the liability limits on single-hull tankers under the Oil Pollution Act-1990. It will require all ships to report objects that are lost overboard to the U.S. Coast Guard, and will create a new committee to report to Congress on ways to improve oil spill response and prevention. Finally, the act establishes a pilot project on the Delaware River and bay to test techniques to recover submerged oil.
"The unanimous support for this legislation shows that it is not only very important to our region, but to the nation as well," said LoBiondo, Chairman of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee. "This bill will help ensure that the ecologically significant areas in New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania are protected from future oil spills, while allowing the vital commerce of the Delaware River and the nation to continue.
The measure now goes to the Senate.