U.S. Code of Federal Regulations

Regulations most recently checked for updates: Sep 21, 2019

§ 29.1 - Definitions.

As used in this part:

(a) Act means the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Authorization Act, title II of Public Law 93-153, 43 U.S.C. secs. 1651, et seq.

(b) Affiliated means:

(1) Any person owned or effectively controlled by the vessel Owner or Operators; or

(2) Any person that effectively controls or has the power to effectively control the vessel Owner or Operator by -

(i) Stock interest, or

(ii) Representation on a board of directors or similar body, or

(iii) Contract or other agreement with other stockholders, or

(iv) Otherwise, or;

(3) Any person which is under common ownership or control with the vessel Owner or Operator.

(c) Claim means a demand in writing for payment for damage allegedly caused by an incident.

(d) Contact person means a person designated by the Owner or Operator and identified to the Fund Administrator and the National Response Center operated by the Coast Guard as the official responsible for coordinating with the Fund the resolution of claims filed as a result of a TAPS oil spill.

(e) Damage or damages means any economic loss, arising out of or directly resulting from an incident, including but not limited to:

(1) Removal costs;

(2) Injury to, or destruction of, real or personal property;

(3) Loss of use of real or personal property;

(4) Injury to, or destruction of, natural resources;

(5) Loss of use of natural resources; or

(6) Loss of profits or impairment of earning capacity due to injury or destruction of real or personal property or natural resources, including loss of subsistence hunting, fishing and gathering opportunities.

(f) Fund means the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Liability Fund established as a non-profit corporate entity by section 204(c)(4) of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Authorization Act.

(g) Guarantor means the person, other than the Owner or Operator who provides evidence of financial responsibility for an Owner or Operator, and includes an underwriter, insurer or surety company.

(h) Incident (or “spill”) means a discharge of oil from a vessel which is carrying TAPS oil loaded on that vessel at the terminal facilities of the Pipeline and which:

(1) Violates applicable water quality standards, or

(2) Causes a film or sheen upon or discoloration of the surface of the water or adjoining shorelines or causes a sludge or emulsion to be deposited beneath the surface of the water or upon adjoining shorelines.

(i) Operator of the Pipeline means the common agent designated by the Permittees to operate the Pipeline.

(j) Owner of the oil means the Owner of TAPS oil at the time that such oil is loaded on a vessel at the terminal facilities of the Pipeline.

(k)(1) Owner means, in the case of a vessel, the person owning the vessel carrying TAPS oil at the time of an incident, and

(2) Operator means, in the case of a vessel, the person operating, or chartering by demise, the vessel carrying TAPS oil at the time of an incident.

(l) Person means an individual, a corporation, a partnership, an association, a joint stock company, a business trust, an unincorporated organization, or a Government entity.

(m) Person in charge of the vessel means the individual on board the vessel with the ultimate responsibility for vessel navigation and operations.

(n) Permittees means the holders of the Pipeline right-of-way for the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System.

(o) Pipeline means any Pipeline in the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System.

(p) Secretary means the Secretary of the Interior or an authorized representative of the Secretary.

(q) TAPS oil means oil which was transported through the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and loaded on a vessel at the terminal facilities of the Pipeline.

(r) Terminal facilities means those facilities of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System at which oil is taken from the Pipeline and loaded on vessels or placed in storage for future loading onto vessels.

(s) Trans-Alaska Pipeline System or System means any Pipeline or terminal facilities constructed by the Permittees under the authority of the Act.

(t) United States includes the various States of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Canal Zone, Guam, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.

(u) Vessel means any type of water-craft or other artificial contrivance, used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water, which is engaged in any segment of transportation between the terminal facilities of the Pipeline and ports under the jurisdiction of the United States, and which is carrying TAPS oil.

§ 29.2 - Creation of the Fund.

(a) The Trans-Alaska Pipeline Liability Fund (Fund) was created by the Act as a non-profit corporation to be administered by the holders of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline right-of-way under regulations prescribed by the Secretary. The vessel Owner and Operator are strickly liable for the first $14 million of claims for any one incident. The vessel Owner and Operator remain liable for claims over that amount whenever the damages involved were caused by the unseaworthiness of the vessel or by negligence and should the Fund pay any claims under those circumstances, the Fund retains the right of subrogation. The Fund's maximum liability for any one incident is the amount of the claims over $14 million but not to exceed $100 million.

(b) The Fund shall be subject to, and shall take all steps necessary to carry out its responsibilities under, the Act and these implementing regulations.

(c) The right to repeal, alter, or amend these regulations is expressly reserved.

§ 29.3 - Fund administration.

(a) The Fund shall be administered by a Board of Trustees designated by the Permittees and the Secretary as provided in paragraph (b) of this section.

(b)(1) The Board of Trustees shall be comprised of one member designated by each Permittee and three members designated by the Secretary. At least one member designated by the Secretary shall be chosen from persons nominated by the Governor of the State of Alaska. Each member shall serve for a period of three years and may succeed himself or herself. Each member shall have the right to vote. If additional persons become holders of rights-of-way, each such additional Permittee shall have the right to designate a trustee, and if any holder of right-of-way sells the interest in such right-of-way, such holder's designated trustee shall resign from the Board. The Board shall elect by a majority vote a Chairman and a Secretary annually.

(2) Where any activity of the Fund creates a conflict of interest, or the appearance of a conflict of interest, on the part of any member of the Board of Trustees, the member involved shall excuse himself or herself from any consideration of such activity by the Board of Trustees.

(c) The Board of Trustees by a majority vote shall select an Administrator to direct the day-to-day operations of the Fund.

(d) The Board of Trustees shall hold meetings every six months, or more frequently when necessary to consider pressing matters, including pending claims under § 29.9.

(e)(1) Each Board Member and officer of the Fund now or hereafter serving as such, shall be indemnified by the Fund against any and all claims and liabilities to which he or she has or shall become subject by reason of serving or having served as such Board Member or officer, or by reason of any action alleged to have been taken, omitted, or neglected by him or her as such Board Member or officer; and the Fund shall reimburse each such person for all legal expenses reasonably incurred by him or her in connection with any such claim or liability: Provided, however, That no such person shall be indemnified against, or be reimbursed for any expenses incurred in connection with, any claim or liability arising out of his or her own willful misconduct or gross negligence.

(2) The amount paid to any officer or Board Member by way of indemnification shall not exceed his or her actual liabilities and actual, reasonable, and necessary expenses incurred in connection with the matter involved. Expenses incurred in defending a civil or criminal action, suit, or proceeding may be paid by the Fund in advance of the final disposition of such action, suit, or proceeding as authorized by the Board in the specific case upon receipt of an undertaking by or on behalf of the Board Member or officer to repay such amount if it shall ultimately be determined that he or she is not entitled to be indemnified by the Fund as authorized herein.

(3) The indemnification provided by this section shall continue as to a person who has ceased to be a Board Member or officer and shall inure to the benefit of the heirs, executors, and administrators of such a person. The right of indemnification hereinabove provided for shall not be exclusive of any rights to which any Board Member or officer of the Fund may otherwise be entitled by law.

§ 29.4 - General powers.

The Fund shall have such powers as may be necessary and appropriate for the exercise of the powers herein specifically and impliedly conferred upon the Fund and all such incidental powers as are customary in non-profit corporations generally, including but not limited to the following:

(a) By resolution of the Board of Trustees, the fund shall adopt a corporate seal.

(b) The Fund may sue and be sued in its corporate name and may employ counsel to represent it.

(c) The Fund shall be a resident of the State of Alaska with its principal place of business in Alaska, and the Board of Trustees shall establish a business office or offices as deemed necessary for the operation of the Fund.

(d) In any civil action for the recovery of damages resulting from an incident, the Fund shall waive personal jurisdiction upon being furnished with a copy of the summons and complaint in the action.

(e) The Board of Trustees of the Fund, by a majority of those present and voting, shall adopt and may amend and repeal by-laws governing the performance of its statutory duties.

(f) The Fund shall do all things necessary and proper in conducting its activities as Trustee including

(1) Receipt of fee collections pursuant to section 204(c)(6) of the Act;

(2) Payment of costs and expenses reasonably necessary to the administration of the Fund as well as costs required to satisfy claims against the Fund;

(3) Investment of all sums not needed for administration and the satisfaction of claims in income-producing securities as hereinafter provided; and

(4) Seeking recovery of any monies to which it is entitled as subrogee under circumstances set forth in section 204(c)(8) of the Act.

(g) The Fund shall determine the character of and the necessity for its obligations and expenditures, and the manner in which they shall be incurred, allowed, and paid. The Board of Trustees shall establish an annual budget, subject to the approval of the Secretary.

(h) All costs and expenses reasonably necessary to the administration of the Fund, including costs and expenses incident to the termination, settlement, or payment of claims, are properly chargeable as expenses and payable out of fees or other income of the Fund.

§ 29.5 - Officers and employees.

(a) The Administrator is the Chief Executive Officer of the Fund and is responsible for carrying out all executive and administrative functions as authorized by the Board of Trustees in accordance with the Act including the receipt and verification of fees collected from Owners of TAPS oil pursuant to § 29.6(a), the investment of Fund assets in securities according to guidelines approved by the Board of Trustees and consistent with these regulations, and the disbursement of such assets in payment of expenses and approved claims.

(b) The Fund may employ such other persons as may be necessary to carry out its functions.

§ 29.6 - Financing, accounting, and audit.

(a)(1) The Operator of the Pipeline shall notify each Permittee within a reasonable time as to the date of the tanker loadings and the volumes of TAPS oil loaded. The Permittee will send an invoice for transportation charges for TAPS oil (which includes five cents per barrel for the Fund) to the Owner of the oil. The Permittee will receive the five cents per barrel fee from the Owner of the oil in accordance with the terms of its particular pipeline tariff, filed with the appropriate governmental agency, and shall transfer the fee on or before the next business day to a Fund bank account designated by the Administrator. Collection of fees shall cease at the end of the month following the month in which $100 million has been accumulated in the Fund from any source. Collection of fees shall be resumed when the accumulation falls below $100 million. The Administrator shall notify the Pipeline carriers by the fifteenth of the month if fees are to be collected during the following month.

(2) The value of the Fund shall be the current market value of the Fund on the day at the end of each month or other agreed upon accounting period.

(b) Costs of the administration shall be paid from the money received by the Fund, and all sums not needed for administration and the satisfaction of claims shall be invested in accordance with § 29.11. The interest on and the proceeds from the sale of any obligations held in the Fund shall be credited to and form a part of the Fund. Income from such securities shall be added to the principal of the Fund if not used for costs of administration or settlement of claims.

(c) At the end of each month that fees are payable under the Act, or other agreed upon accounting period, the Operator of the Pipeline shall provide the Fund with a statement of the respective volumes of crude oil transported by the Operator of the Pipeline and delivered to vessels, the amount of fees charged and collected, and the Owners of TAPS oil from whom such fees were or are due. The Administrator shall provide a copy of the statement to the Owners of the oil, and to the State of Alaska.

(d) The Fund shall undertake an annual accounting.

(e) The Fund shall be subject to an annual audit by the Comptroller General, in coordination with the Administrator and the Secretary. Authorized representatives of the Comptroller General and the Secretary shall have complete access, for purposes of the audit or otherwise, to all books, accounts, financial records, reports, files, and all other papers, things, or property belonging to or in use by the Fund and they shall be afforded full facilities for verifying among other things, transactions with the balances on securities held by depositories, fiscal agents, and custodians. A report of each audit made by the Comptroller General shall be submitted to the Congress.

§ 29.7 - Imposition of strict liability.

(a) Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law, where a vessel is engaged in any segment of transportation between the terminal facilities of the Pipeline and ports under the jurisdiction of the United States, and is carrying TAPS oil, the Owner and Operator (jointly and severally), and the Fund established by section 204(c) of the Act, shall be strictly liable without regard to fault in accordance with that section for all damages, including clean-up costs, sustained by any person or entity, public or private, including residents of Canada, as a result of any discharge of TAPS oil from such vessel. Strict liability under this section shall cease when the TAPS oil has first been brought ashore at a port under the jurisdiction of the United States.

(b) Strict liability shall not be imposed under this part if the Owner or Operator of the vessel, or the Fund, can prove that the damages were caused by an act of war or by the negligence of the United States or other governmental agency. Strict liability shall not be imposed under the Act with respect to the claim of a damaged party if the Owner or Operator of the vessel, or the Fund, can prove that the damage was caused by the negligence of such damaged party.

(c)(1) Strict liability for all claims arising out of any one incident shall not exceed $100 million. The Owner and Operator of the vessel shall be jointly and severally liable for the first $14 million of the claims that meet the definition of damages as provided for in these regulations. The Fund shall be liable for the balance of the claims that meet the same definition up to $100 million. If the total of these claims exceeds $100 million, they shall be reduced proportionately. The unpaid portion of any claim may be asserted and adjudicated under other applicable Federal or State law.

(2) The Fund shall establish uniform procedures to determine whether claims from a TAPS oil spill might exceed $14 million and $100 million. These procedures shall provide that when a determination is made that claims may exceed $100 million, payment of claims may be withheld in full or in part for a twenty-four month period so that claims may be proportionately reduced prior to payment.

(d)(1) Each Owner or Operator of a vessel shall obtain from the Federal Maritime Commission a “Certificate of Financial Responsibility (Alaska Pipeline)” demonstrating compliance with the provisions of section 311(p) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, as amended (33 U.S.C. 1321(p)), and regulations promulgated pursuant to such act (33 CFR part 131). Notwithstanding inconsistent language in such act, financial responsibility in the amount of $14 million for all such vessels must be established.

(2) The certificate obtained in accordance with this subsection shall be carried on board the vessel. No TAPS oil may be loaded on any vessel which has not been issued a valid certificate which is still in effect at the time of loading.

§ 29.8 - Notification and advertisement.

(a) As soon as the person in charge of a vessel has knowledge of an incident in which the vessel is involved, he shall immediately notify the Owner or Operator and the National Response Center, (800) 424-6802, of the incident. Notification under this section is in addition to any notification requirements under section 311(b)(5) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, as amended, and the regulations of the Coast Guard and the Environmental Protection Agency promulgated thereunder (33 CFR 153.203 and 40 CFR 110.10, respectively).

(b) Upon receiving notice of an incident, the National Response Center shall immediately notify the Fund.

(c)(1) At the time of a spill of TAPS oil, the vessel Owner and Operator shall consult with each other and identify a single contact person to both the Fund Administrator and the National Response Center as the official who is responsible for coordinating with the Fund the resolution of claims from a spill of TAPS oil. The National Response Center shall provide the identity of the contact person to appropriate officials of the Coast Guard.

(2) The Fund shall establish procedures for coordination of the handling of claims with the contact person.

(d) Pursuant to its procedures, the Fund shall ascertain if the spill may result in damage claims in excess of $14 million. If it concludes that that level may be reached, the Fund shall commence advertisement no later than 45 days from the date the Fund receives notice of the incident and shall continue advertising for a period of not less than thirty days.

(e) The advertisement must appear in one or more local newspapers of general circulation and the Fund shall establish procedures governing the format and the information to be included in the advertisement of an incident. All advertisements must include:

(1) The date and location of the incident;

(2) The name of the Owner or Operator;

(3) The name and address of the contact person or of the Fund Administrator to whom claims should be sent.

§ 29.9 - Claims, settlement and adjudication.

(a)(1) Claims in accordance with this section may be submitted by any damaged party, his or her duly authorized agent, or his or her successor in interest.

(2) Claims submitted in accordance with this section must contain the following information:

(i) A detailed statement of the circumstances, if known, by which the claimed loss occurred.

(ii) A detailed listing of damages incurred, categorized according to the type of damage involved (§ 29.1(e)), and including a monetary claim for each type of damage listed.

(iii) Documentation of all monetary claims asserted.

(b) The contact person must provide copies of all claims filed with the vessel Owner or Operator to the Fund Administrator upon request of the Administrator. Once such claims are paid, the contact person shall notify the Fund and upon request of the Administrator supply any adjuster's reports.

(c) Prior to reaching $14 million in claims filed, the contact person shall notify the Fund whether the vessel Owner or Operator will assume responsibility to pay damages over the $14 million level.

(d)(1) In the event the vessel Owner or Operator refuses to pay claims over the $14 million level, the Fund shall determine if the $14 million in claims already filed meet the definition of damage as established by this section. The Fund shall pay the claims, or portion of claims, over $14 million, which have been determined to meet that definition.

(2) The Fund shall establish uniform procedures and standards for the appraisal and settlement of claims against the Fund, including but not limited to procedures for appraising claims made to the vessel Owner or Operator to determine when $14 million of claims meeting the definition of damages has been reached; procedures to determine whether claims over the $14 million level which it receives meet the definition of damages; and procedures for determining when the services of a private insurance and claims adjuster shall be used.

(e) In the event the vessel Owner or Operator refuses payment of any claims up to $14 million, the injured parties have recourse to the district court for the Federal district in which the spill occurred or the appropriate State court for the State in which the spill occurred. The Fund only becomes liable after $14 million in claims meeting the definition of damages have been paid or have been acknowledged as payable by the vessel Owner or Operator.

(f) The Fund may settle or compromise any claim presented to it.

(g) No claim may be presented, nor any action be commenced, for damages recoverable under this part unless that claim is presented to or that action is commenced against the vessel Owner or Operator, or their guarantor, or against the Fund, as to their respective liabilities, within two years from the date of discovery of the damages caused by an incident, or of the date of the incident causing the damages, whichever is earlier.

(h)(1) The Board of Trustees, by a majority vote, shall decide to allow or deny claims or settlements presented to the Fund in accordance with this section. In its discretion the Board may delegate the authority to settle classes of claims to the Administrator.

(2)(i) Where a claim is presented to the Fund by or on behalf of any person having a close business, personal or governmental association with any member of the Board of Trustees, such as to create a conflict of interest or the appearance of such conflict of interest on the part of such member of the Board of Trustees, the member involved shall excuse himself or herself from any consideration of such claim.

(ii) Where a claim presented to the Fund has previously been presented to the Owner or Operator and such Owner or Operator has a close business, personal or governmental association with any member of the Board of Trustees, such as to create a conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest on the part of such member of the Board of Trustees, the member involved shall excuse himself or herself from any consideration of such claim.

(i) Any claimant aggrieved by the Fund's decision on a claim under this section may appeal the decision in the appropriate Federal district court.

§ 29.10 - Subrogation.

If the Fund pays compensation to any claimant, the Fund shall be subrogated to all rights, claims, and causes of action which that claimant has to the extent permitted by law.

§ 29.11 - Investment.

(a) The monies accumulated in the Fund shall be prudently invested in the following types of income-producing obligations having a high degree of reliability and security, or in such other obligations as the Secretary may approve:

(1) Fixed income securities issued by the United States or any of its agencies, at the same interest rates and terms available to private investors; and

(2) Fixed income securities or obligations issued by a corporation or issued or guaranteed by a State or local government or any political subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, provided such obligations have a rating by Standard and Poors, or Moody, of “A” or better, or an equivalent rating, or provided further that the security or obligation is of the same priority as another security or obligation of the same issuer which has been rated “A” or better, and provided that the portfolio has an overall rating of “AA.” Provided, however, That no securities or obligations of the permittees or their affiliates or of any investment advisor or custodian to the Fund, or their affiliates may be purchased or held by the Fund.

(3) Time certificates of deposit and commercial paper provided that the commercial paper has a rating of either “A1” or “P1” or both.

(b) No more than two percent of the total principal amount outstanding of fixed income obligations of a single issuer may be held by the Fund at any one time, Provided, however, That this restriction shall not apply to obligations of the United States or any of its agencies.

§ 29.12 - Borrowing.

In the event the Fund is unable to satisfy a claim determined to be justified, or is in need of money with which to initiate the operation of the Fund, the Fund may borrow the money needed from any commercial credit source at the lowest available rate of interest. If the amount to be borrowed is $500,000 or less, the Administrator may arrange to pledge the credit of the Fund pursuant to a resolution of the Board of Trustees. If the proposed borrowing exceeds $500,000, the Administrator shall, prior to issuance of a note or other security pledging the credit of the Fund, secure the approval of the Secretary. No money may be borrowed from any of the Permittees or their affiliates.

§ 29.13 - Termination.

Upon termination of operations of the Pipeline, the full disposition of all claims, and the expiration of time for the filing of claims against the Fund, all assets remaining in the Fund shall be placed in a temporary trust fund account within the State of Alaska. The terms of the trust arrangement shall be determined by the Secretary. During the next succeeding session of Congress, the Secretary shall request that Congress provide for final disposition of the Fund. If Congress at any time establishes a comprehensive oil pollution liability fund which supersedes or repeals the Fund, the Fund assets and any pending claims shall be disposed of as Congress or the Secretary shall direct.

§ 29.14 - Information collection.

The information collection requirements contained in 43 CFR 29.9 have been approved by the Office of Management and Budget under 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq. and assigned approval No. 1084-0026. The information being collected is the information required to substantiate claims submitted to the Fund. The information will be used to determine whether the claims are appropriate for payment by the Fund. Submission of this information is required of claimants before a claim can be considered.