USA Maritime Legislation - California oil spill penalty doubled

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California law


(www.MaritimeCyprus.com) The California Legislature posted Assembly Bill 3214, adopted into law on 24 September, which doubles the penalty for spilling oil and imposes a new penalty for knowing spills and for knowing failure to remove spilled oil.

Details:

Existing law makes it a felony to, among other things, knowingly engage in or cause the discharge or spill of oil into waters of the state, or knowingly fail to begin cleanup, abatement, or removal of spilled oil, as specified. Existing law makes this crime punishable by a fine of not less than $5,000 or more than $500,000 for each day or partial day a violation occurs.

Existing law additionally makes it a felony to, among other things, fail to notify the Office of Emergency Services regarding an oil spill or to knowingly fail to follow the material provisions of an applicable oil spill contingency plan.

Existing law makes this crime punishable by a fine of not less than $2,500 or more than $250,000 for each day or partial day a violation occurs for a first conviction, and by a fine of not less than $5,000 or more than $500,000 for each day or partial day, a violation occurs for a 2nd conviction.

This bill would double the minimum and maximum amounts of the fines described above. The bill would authorize the court to also impose upon a person convicted of, among other things, knowingly engaging in or causing the discharge or spill of oil into waters of the state, or knowingly failing to begin cleanup, abatement, or removal of spilled oil, as specified, a fine of up to $1,000 per gallon spilled in excess of 1,000 gallons of oil.

Oil spill

Details from the new Bill:

The new law significantly increases penalties in two ways: By doubling the existing fines such that, upon conviction, a state court must now impose a fine of between $10,000 and $1,000,000; and for spills over 1,000 gallons, the new law permits courts to impose a new, additional fine of up to $1,000 per gallon spilled.

The new law affects only fines. The underlying offenses apply to an individual, trust, firm, joint-stock company, or corporation who:

  • Knowingly fails to follow the direction or orders of the administrator in connection with an oil spill;
  • Knowingly fails to notify the Coast Guard that a vessel is disabled within one hour of the disability and the vessel, while disabled, causes a discharge of oil - that enters marine waters;
  • Knowingly engages in or causes the discharge or spill of oil into waters of the state, or a person who reasonably should have known that the person was - engaging in or causing the discharge or spill of oil into waters of the state, unless the discharge is authorized by the United States, the state, or another agency with appropriate jurisdiction;
  • Knowingly fails to begin clean up, abatement, or removal of spilled oil as required in Section 8670.25.

Click below to download the Bill 3214

Source: California State

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