H.R. 1684, Foreign Spill Protection Act of 2016

H.R. 1684

Foreign Spill Protection Act of 2016

April 26, 2016 (114th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact

Floor Situation

On Tuesday, April 26, 2016, the House will consider H.R. 1684, the Foreign Spill Protection Act of 2015, under suspension of the rules. H.R. 1684 was introduced on March 26, 2015 by Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), and was referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, which ordered the bill reported, as amended, by voice vote on March 3, 2016.

Bill Summary

H.R. 1684 would amend the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 and the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to impose penalties and provide for the recovery of removal costs and damages in connection with certain discharges of oil from foreign offshore units. Under H.R. 1684, foreign offshore units would become liable for any costs and damages resulting from their operation in the same manner as US offshore facilities would be held liable for costs and damages that occur under their watch.


The aftermath of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico raised questions regarding the adequacy of existing policies that govern responses to such events. In particular, the scope of the spill raised concerns about foreign deepwater drilling operations that could potentially impact US territorial waters and shorelines.

In 1986, Congress created the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund to help cover the costs associated with clean up, recovery, and compensation in the aftermath oil spills for which there was no responsible party. [1]

Accordingly, H.R. 1684 clarifies that there be a “responsible party” to pay for cleanup and damages for a foreign-sourced oil spill that impacts US territorial waters and shorelines.

[1] http://www.uscg.mil/npfc/About_NPFC/osltf.asp#fund_uses


The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that enacting H.R.1684 would increase recoveries to the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund (OSLTF) by $7 million over the 2017-2026 period. Those recoveries are recorded as reductions in direct spending. CBO estimates that the bill also would increase revenues from penalty collections by $5 million over that period. The estimated amounts reflect CBO’s assessment of the low likelihood that a significant oil spill originating outside the United States would occur over the next decade and the small probability that responsible entities would be identified from whom the federal government could collect recoveries and penalties.

Because enacting the bill would affect direct spending and revenues, pay-as-you-go procedures apply.

Additional Information

For questions or further information please contact Jason Grassie with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 5-3021.