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WATER POLLUTION:

Coast Guard floats liability limit hike for oil spill damage

The Coast Guard is proposing to increase the liability limits for oil spill damage under the 1990 Oil Pollution Act in order to keep pace with inflation.

The law, enacted following the Exxon Valdez oil spill, beefed up contingency planning for spills and increased the amount the responsible party for a spill would owe to clean up and repair environmental damage. But it also set top-line dollar limits for how much a company could be required to pay due to a single incident.

GULF OF MEXICO:

Interim rules lay out stipulations for state use of Deepwater civil fines

The Treasury Department today issued an "interim" final rule setting the ground rules for how Gulf Coast states can spend the civil fines levied in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The rule -- scheduled to be published in Friday's Federal Register -- won't take effect for another 60 days, with Treasury keeping the door open for changes before issuing the final regulations. But the announcement is a step forward in what has been a slow process for distributing potentially billions of dollars to Gulf Coast states.

OFFSHORE DRILLING:

Industry is refining its focus on blowout preventers, CSB officials say

Offshore drilling still faces the risk of blowout preventer failure of the sort that caused the deadly 2010 accident and oil spill, but industry is gradually improving its focus on that critical piece of safety equipment, a federal investigative body says.

It was two months ago that the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board caused controversy when it announced its conclusions of what went wrong during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion and Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The Chemical Safety Board focused its investigation on the rig's blowout preventer. The second part of the board's findings and recommendations are expected to be released early next year.

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About this report

The sunken oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico is the worst oil spill in U.S. history. E&E examines the response to the spill, the politics of offshore drilling, and the aftermath for Gulf species and industries.

Industry

Politics

Natural Resources

Response