Environmental Defense Calls For Accelerated Phase-In Of Double-Hulled Oil Tankers

February 24, 2003

(24 February 2003 — Washington)  Environmental Defense today expressed strong support for the “Stop Oil Spills (S.O.S.) Act” as introduced by Representative Lois Capps (D-CA).

Rep. Capps’ new legislation would accelerate the adoption of true double-hulled tankers in U.S. waters and speed the phase out of existing high-risk single-hulled tankers.  The “Stop Oil Spills Act” proposes, among other needed safety measures, to discontinue the use of all remaining single-hulled oil tankers in U.S. waters by 2007, instead of the 2015 phase out date currently required under federal law.

“All too frequently, we see the devastation of our marine environment from oil spills resulting from structural and design deficiencies in oil tankers,” said Richard Charter, marine conservation advocate with Environmental Defense.  “Petroleum products should be transported on our seas with due respect for their highly-toxic properties, and every precaution taken to keep oil away from contact with the valuable living marine resources on which our coastal economies depend.”

The “Stop Oil Spills” legislation would amend the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, which was adopted by Congress in response to the tragic 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska’s Prince William Sound.  Spilled oil from the Exxon Valdez single-hulled tanker grounding still pollutes Alaskan waters and is found on the beaches of the Sound even today.

Eleventh-hour changes to the current oil spill law were made in 1990, at the request of the oil industry, as the federal Oil Pollution Act was undergoing Congressional adoption.  These last-minute legislative amendments extended the deadline for implementation of double-hulled tankers.