S 662

112th CONGRESS
1st Session

S. 662

To provide for payments to certain natural resource trustees to assist in restoring natural resources damaged as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and for other purposes.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

March 29, 2011

Mr. VITTER introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works


A BILL

To provide for payments to certain natural resource trustees to assist in restoring natural resources damaged as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the `Natural Resources Restoration Act of 2011'.

SEC. 2. DEEPWATER HORIZON OIL SPILL DAMAGE ASSESSMENT.

    Title I of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (33 U.S.C. 2701 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following:

`SEC. 1021. DEEPWATER HORIZON OIL SPILL DAMAGE ASSESSMENT.

    `(a) Definitions- In this section:

      `(1) ADMINISTRATOR- The term `Administrator' means the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

      `(2) DEEPWATER HORIZON OIL SPILL- The term `Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill' means the blowout and explosion of the mobile offshore drilling unit Deepwater Horizon that occurred on April 20, 2010, the resulting hydrocarbon releases into the environment, and the various response actions that injured natural resources in the Gulf of Mexico and in State water and land bordering the Gulf of Mexico.

      `(3) PANEL- The term `panel' means the panel established under subsection (b).

      `(4) TRUSTEE- The term `trustee' means each of the Federal and State trustees designated under paragraphs (2) and (3) of section 1006(b) with respect to natural resource damages relating to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

    `(b) Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Damage Assessment-

      `(1) ESTABLISHMENT OF PANEL- The Administrator shall enter into an arrangement with the National Academies under which the National Academies shall convene, in consultation with the trustees, a panel of scientists with appropriate expertise to conduct, in coordination with the trustees, a preliminary evaluation of the natural resource damages from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

      `(2) REPORT-

        `(A) IN GENERAL- Based on the preliminary evaluation conducted under paragraph (1), the panel shall prepare a report that includes an estimate of--

          `(i) the cost for each trustee of--

            `(I) restoring the natural resources under the trusteeship of the trustee injured by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill; and

            `(II) compensating the trustee for the loss of natural resource services under the trusteeship of the trustee during the period beginning on April 20, 2010, and ending on the date on which the natural resources are fully restored; and

          `(ii) the total of the estimated costs described in clause (i) for all trustees.

        `(B) CONSIDERATIONS- In preparing the report under subparagraph (A), the panel shall consider--

          `(i) the results of the study conducted under section 2004(3) of the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2010 (Public Law 112-212; 124 Stat. 2338); and

          `(ii) any appropriate and available information that has been generated through the natural resources damages assessment being conducted by the trustees under section 1006(d) with respect to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

        `(C) TIMELINE-

          `(i) PRELIMINARY DRAFT- Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the panel shall prepare a preliminary draft of the report required under subparagraph (A).

          `(ii) COMMENT PERIOD-

            `(I) IN GENERAL- In accordance with subclause (II), the panel shall provide for a comment period during which the panel shall solicit from trustees and responsible parties comments on the preliminary draft report.

            `(II) TIMELINE- Comments shall be solicited under subclause (I) during the 30-day period beginning on the date of completion of the preliminary draft report under subparagraph (A).

          `(iii) FINAL REPORT- Not later than 30 days after the date on which the comment period ends under clause (ii), the panel shall--

            `(I) submit to Congress a final version of the report required under subparagraph (A); and

            `(II) publish in the Federal Register notice that the final report has been completed.

      `(3) SPECIAL ASSESSMENT-

        `(A) IN GENERAL- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, in making an assessment of natural resource damages with respect to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill under paragraph (1) or (2) of section 1006(c), a trustee shall include a special assessment in an amount that is equal to--

          `(i) 30 percent of the cost of restoring the natural resources under the trusteeship of the trustee injured by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and compensating the trustee for the loss natural resource services under the trusteeship of the trustee during the period beginning on April 20, 2010, and ending on the date on which the natural resources are fully restored, as estimated in the report prepared under paragraph (2); or

          `(ii) an amount mutually agreed to by the responsible parties and the trustees.

        `(B) PAYMENT OF SPECIAL ASSESSMENT- The responsible parties shall be responsible for paying the amounts assessed under subparagraph (A), in accordance with the provisions of this Act.

        `(C) USE-

          `(i) IN GENERAL- Any amounts assessed under subparagraph (A) shall be used by a trustee to conduct projects to restore natural resources injured by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

          `(ii) APPLICABLE LAW- Any activities carried out by the trustees using amounts assessed under subparagraph (A) shall be carried out in accordance with applicable laws (including regulations) relating to natural resource damages assessment and restoration, including laws relating to public participation.

        `(D) CREDITS- There shall be credited toward any other natural resource damages assessed against the responsible parties for the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, in accordance with applicable laws (including regulations) any amounts assessed under subparagraph (A).

        `(E) REGULATIONS- As soon as practicable after the date of enactment of this section, the Administrator shall promulgate regulations establishing a program under which responsible parties can purchase credits for the cost of any projects carried out by a trustee under subparagraph (C)(i).'.

END