Policy Update Jul 27, 2015

Position on H.R. 1684, the Foreign Spill Protection Act

NPCA supports H.R. 1684, the Foreign Spill Protection Act of 2015, which was heard by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation on July 28, 2015.

National parks should be able to recover the costs of cleanup and restoration whenever damage is done by a private party or foreign government. This legislation would ensure that if an oil spill occurs in a foreign country that damages U.S. coastlines, including our national parks, the responsible party, regardless of origin, pays for all American cleanup costs by applying the Oil Pollution Act. Furthermore, the bill applies Clean Water Act penalties on the responsible foreign party.

Several countries, such as Mexico, Cuba, and the Bahamas, are either currently drilling or looking at exploratory drilling just beyond U.S. waters. If a spill occurs where these leases are located, it could cause great harm to four national park sites in South Florida – Everglades, Biscayne, and Dry Tortugas National Parks and Big Cypress National Preserve. These parks attract 2.5 million visitors, generate 2,619 jobs, and contribute over $275 million to the economy in Florida annually. A spill in this area would devastate our iconic national parks and the local communities that depend on them.