Summary: S.9 — 95th Congress (1977-1978)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Conference report filed in Senate (08/10/1978)

(Conference report filed in Senate, S. Rept. 95-1091)

Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act Amendments - =Title I: Findings and Purposes with Respect to Managing the Resources of the Outer Continental Shelf= - Declares that the national interest will be served by a policy of increased domestic production of the oil and gas resources of the Outer Continental Shelf. Declares it the purpose of this Act to establish policies and procedures for management of the oil and gas resources of the Outer Continental Shelf, while minimizing or eliminating adverse impacts of such development.

=Title II: Amendments to the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act= - Amends the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to restate the national policy for the Outer Continental Shelf and to require the President to establish, within one year of enactment, procedures for settling any outstanding international boundary dispute concerning the Outer Continental Shelf.

Amends such Act to require the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Energy, or the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, in accordance with their respective authority, to promulgate regulations which include provisions for (1) the suspension or temporary prohibition of any operation or activity pursuant to any lease for specified reasons, and (2) the cancellation, after suspension, of any lease when continued activity would probably cause serious harm or damage to life, property, mineral deposits, the national security or defense, or to the marine, coastal, or human environments.

Revises the Secretary's authority over the granting of pipeline rights-of-way on the Outer Continental Shelf to require the Secretary to assure maximum environmental protection by utilization of the best available and safest technology.

Revises bidding and leasing procedures under such Act. Requires an annual report to Congress on the use of various bidding options. Requires that the Secretary provide Governors of affected coastal States with the opportunity to share in the disposition of revenues generated by Federal leases.

Establishes procedures for geological and geophysical exploration in the Outer Continental Shelf. Requires submission of exploration plans to the Secretary for approval.

Bifurcates the annual report required to be submitted by the Secretary of the Interior to the Congress, requiring a part evaluating competition and the measures dealing with supplies of oil and gas to independent refiners and distributors.

Directs the Secretary to prepare and periodically revise an oil and gas leasing program consistent with the purpose of this Act. Stipulates that the Secretary shall be responsible for preparing any environmental impact statements as required by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. Establishes procedures for review of the leasing program by affected States, localities, and regions. Establishes a procedure for the acceptance of recommendations of States and localities regarding the size, timing, or location of a proposed lease sale or with respect to a proposed development and production plan. Provides that the Secretary must accept the recommendation of a Governor if such recommendation provides a reasonable balance between the national interest and the well-being of the citizens of the affected State.

Directs the Secretary to study areas included in lease sales in order to establish information concerning the potential impact of the proposed oil and gas development on the coastal human, and marine environments.

Provides for a study of the adequacy of existing safety and health regulations, technology, equipment, and techniques relating to Outer Continental Shelf activities.

Directs the Secretary of the Department in which the Coast Guard is operating to promulgate, when necessary, regulations applying to unregulated hazardous working conditions related to Outer Continental Shelf activities.

Directs the Secretary of Commerce, in cooperation with the Secretary of the Department in which the Coast Guard is operating, and the Director of the National Institutes of Occupational Safety and Health, to conduct studies of underwater diving techniques and equipment suitable for protection of human safety and improvement of diver performance.

Directs the Secretary, the Secretary of the Department in which the Coast Guard is operating, and the Secretary of the Army, to consult with each other with regard to their respective safety and environmental regulation enforcement responsibilities. Directs the Secretary and the Secretary of the Department in which the Coast Guard is operating to jointly or individually promulgate regulations providing for onsite inspection of safety equipment designed to prevent blowouts, fires, spillages or other accidents. Provides that the Secretary and the Coast Guard must investigate and report on oilspills and fires occurring as a result of operations pursuant to this Act.

Allows citizen suits by persons adversely affected by actions under this Act.

Imposes civil penalties of not more than $10,000 per day for failure to comply with the provisions of this Act. Imposes criminal penalties in fines of not more than $100,000 and/or imprisonment for not more than ten years for knowing and willful violations of this Act.

Requires lessees to submit oil and gas lease development and production plans for the Outer Continental Shelf to the Secretary for approval. Requires plans to include descriptions of facilities other than those on the Outer Continental Shelf which will be utilized in implementing the lease and the land, labor, material, and energy requirements associated with such facilities and all environmental and safety safeguards to be implemented. Makes specified exceptions for leases in the Gulf of Mexico. Prescribes the requirements of such development and production plans and the procedures for approval, disapproval, and review of such plans.

Sets up an Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas information program under which lessees and permittees exploring, developing, or producing oil and gas shall provide the Secretary access to all data obtained from such activities. Provides for the dissemination of such data, including indexes and summaries of programs to affected States.

Reserves the right of the United States to purchase a specified percentage of the oil and gas produced by leases or permits issued pursuant to this Act. Authorizes the Secretary to establish procedures for equitable distribution of oil from such leases to small refiners.

Permits the Secretary, upon determinations that an emergency natural gas shortage threatens severe economic or social dislocation and that the affected region can be practicably serviced through specified provisions of this Act, to allocate or conduct a lottery for the sale of gas.

Requires the President, prior to exporting specified oil or gas, to make an express finding that such exports will not increase reliance on imported oil or gas, are in the national interest, and are in accord with the Export Administration Act of 1969. Requires Presidential reports to Congress on such findings and provides for congressional veto over determinations as to the national interest. Enumerates the oil or gas to which such export limitations shall not apply.

Imposes restrictions on employment of certain former Interior Department officials by entities subject to regulation under this Act, after termination of employment with the Interior Department.

Directs the Secretary of the Department in which the Coast Guard is operating to require that any vessel, rig, platform, or other structure: (1) be documented under the laws of the United States; (2) comply with minimum standards of design and repair; and (3) be manned by citizens of the United States or resident aliens.

=Title III: Offshore Oil Spill Pollution Fund= - Establishes an Offshore Oil Pollution Compensation Fund within the Treasury of the United States.

Imposes a fee not to exceed three cents per barrel on oil obtained from the Outer Continental Shelf in order to maintain the Fund at a level of not less than $100,000,000 nor more than $200,000,000.

Authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to issue obligations to the Secretary of the Treasury at times when fund assets are insufficient to meet fund liabilities.

Lists the types of injuries which may be compensated under this Act and the potential claimants who have standing to assert claims involving each such type of damage. Imposes joint, several, and strict liability on the owners and operators of each pollution source.

Specifies liability limits, except in cases of gross negligence or willful misconduct, for ships and other vessels. Stipulates that no liability shall be imposed for discharges caused by acts of war or third parties.

Requires the owner or operator of vessels which use offshore facilities to establish evidence of financial responsibility in an amount sufficient to satisfy applicable liability limits.

Directs the President to conduct a study to determine whether adequate private oil pollution insurance is available on reasonable terms and whether such insurance is sufficiently competitive.

Directs the person in charge of a vessel or facility to immediately notify the Secretary of Transporation of any pollution incident in which the vessel or facility is involved. Specifies procedures whereby the Secretary may, in the absence of such an admission, designate and advertise pollution sources.

Directs the Secretary, in instances in which: (1) the owner, operator and guarantor of a vessel or facility designated by the Secretary denies such vessel's or facility's involvement; (2) the source of the discharge is a public vessel; or (3) the Secretary is unable to designate the pollution source, to advertise procedures for presenting claims directly to the fund. Requires all claims, with limited exceptions, to be initially presented to the owner or operator, or to such person's guarantor. Permits claimants to either present a claim to the fund or to bring an action in an appropriate court, if the owner or operator denies liability or fails to settle the claim within a specified period.

Sets forth procedures for the disposition and appeal of claims submitted to the fund.

Requires both the plaintiff and the defendant in a court action brought against an owner, operator, or guarantor to forward copies of all pleadings to the fund. Permits the fund to intervene in such actions.

Subrogates any person or government entity, including the fund, paying compensation to all the claimant's claims and rights under this Act. Specifies procedures for and the measure of recovery in actions brought by the fund against owners, operators, or guarantors of alleged pollution sources.

Declares that the rights and remedies under this Act shall be exclusive with respect to economic loss caused by oil pollution.

Sets penalties for persons failing to comply with specified provisions of this Act.

Authorizes the appropriation of the following sums for the administration of this title: $10,000,000 for fiscal year 1979; $5,000,000 for fiscal year 1980; and $5,000,000 for fiscal year 1981.

=Title IV: Fishermen's Contingency Fund= - Establishes in the Treasury of the United States a Fishermen's Contingency Fund. Authorizes the Secretary to establish an area account within the Fund for any area of the Outer Continental Shelf in order to provide compensation for damages to, or loss of, fishing gear caused by oil and gas exploration, development, and production in such area. Sets forth the procedure for making a claim on such fund.

Requires the Secretary to submit an annual report to Congress describing the claims and compensation awarded under this title.

Directs the Secretary to conduct a two-year survey of obstructions on the Outer Continental Shelf which pose potential hazards to commercial fishing.

=Title V: Amendments to the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972= - Revises the upper and lower limits on grant assistance under the Coastal Zone Management Act. Specifies the procedure for distributing grant funds when the total amount of funds available is less than the total amount of grants to be paid to coastal States. Raises the authorization level for such grants to $130,000,000 in each of the fiscal years 1979-1988.

Authorizes grants to States to assist them in carrying out their responsibilities under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.

=Title VI: Miscellaneous Provisions= - Directs the Secretary of the Interior to review use of shut-in oil and gas wells or wells flaring natural gas on leases issued under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.

Directs the Secretary of the Interior to submit a report to Congress on delinquent royalty accounts under leases issued under any Act regulating oil and gas development on Federal lands and on the auditing procedures relating to such accounts.

Allows participation by local distribution companies in acquisition of leases and development of natural gas resources on the Outer Continental Shelf by the transportation of natural gas produced from a lease owned by a local distribution company. Requires disclosure of known financial interests in those persons subject to regulation under the Act by officers or employees of the Interior Department.

Directs the Secretary to conduct an investigation to determine the availability of all oil and natural gas produced or located on the Outer Continental Shelf.

Requires the Secretary to make recommendations for a training program for personnel handling pollution control equipment on Outer Continental Shelf operations.