Whitehouse Introduces Legislation to Protect Oil Spill Victims
Washington, DC – Today, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) announced the introduction of the Oil Spill Victims Redress Act, which would clarify that victims of oil spills may seek damages from all corporations involved in the incident.
“As we have seen from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, there are frequently multiple parties responsible for these disasters,” said Whitehouse. “Some of those parties are trying to evade responsibility by arguing that current law only allows BP to be held accountable for damages caused by the spill. This legislation will make clear that, going forward, liability extends to all responsible parties. It will also protect victims and allow for a more timely resolution for those touched by these types of disasters.”
The Oil Spill Victims Redress Act would make the following changes to the Oil Pollution Act:
- The bill makes clear that victims of an oil spill – families of deceased workers, fishermen, and hotel owners – can recover for their loss from any of the companies involved in the spill, and not only the company or companies considered “responsible parties” under the Oil Pollution Act.
- The bill also makes clear that if victims are only suing under state claims, the corporations being sued cannot automatically remove those cases to federal court.
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