View all text of Subchapter I [§ 2701 - § 2720]

§ 2712.
Uses of Fund
(a)
Uses generally
The Fund shall be available to the President for—
(1)
the payment of removal costs, including the costs of monitoring removal actions, determined by the President to be consistent with the National Contingency Plan—
(A) by Federal authorities; or
(B) by a Governor or designated State official under subsection (d);
(2) the payment of costs incurred by Federal, State, or Indian tribe trustees in carrying out their functions under section 2706 of this title for assessing natural resource damages and for developing and implementing plans for the restoration, rehabilitation, replacement, or acquisition of the equivalent of damaged resources determined by the President to be consistent with the National Contingency Plan;
(3) the payment of removal costs determined by the President to be consistent with the National Contingency Plan as a result of, and damages resulting from, a discharge, or a substantial threat of a discharge, of oil from a foreign offshore unit;
(4) the payment of claims in accordance with section 2713 of this title for uncompensated removal costs determined by the President to be consistent with the National Contingency Plan or uncompensated damages; and
(5)
the payment of Federal administrative, operational, and personnel costs and expenses reasonably necessary for and incidental to the implementation, administration, and enforcement of this Act (including, but not limited to, sections 1004(d)(2), 1006(e), 4107, 4110, 4111, 4112, 4117, 5006, 8103, and title VII) and subsections (b), (c), (d), (j), and (l) of section 1321 of this title with respect to prevention, removal, and enforcement related to oil discharges, provided that—
(A) not more than $25,000,000 in each fiscal year shall be available to the Secretary for operations and support incurred by the Coast Guard;
(B) not more than $15,000,000 in each fiscal year shall be available to the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere for expenses incurred by, and activities related to, response and damage assessment capabilities of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration;
(C) not more than $30,000,000 each year through the end of fiscal year 1992 shall be available to establish the National Response System under section 1321(j) of this title, including the purchase and prepositioning of oil spill removal equipment; and
(D) not more than $27,250,000 in each fiscal year shall be available to carry out subchapter IV of this chapter.
(b)
Defense to liability for Fund

The Fund shall not be available to pay any claim for removal costs or damages to a particular claimant, to the extent that the incident, removal costs, or damages are caused by the gross negligence or willful misconduct of that claimant.

(c)
Obligation of Fund by Federal officials

The President may promulgate regulations designating one or more Federal officials who may obligate money in accordance with subsection (a).

(d)
Access to Fund by State officials
(1)
Immediate removal

In accordance with regulations promulgated under this section, the President, upon the request of the Governor of a State or pursuant to an agreement with a State under paragraph (2), may obligate the Fund for payment in an amount not to exceed $250,000 for removal costs consistent with the National Contingency Plan required for the immediate removal of a discharge, or the mitigation or prevention of a substantial threat of a discharge, of oil.

(2)
Agreements
(A)
In general

The President shall enter into an agreement with the Governor of any interested State to establish procedures under which the Governor or a designated State official may receive payments from the Fund for removal costs pursuant to paragraph (1).

(B)
Terms
Agreements under this paragraph—
(i) may include such terms and conditions as may be agreed upon by the President and the Governor of a State;
(ii) shall provide for political subdivisions of the State to receive payments for reasonable removal costs; and
(iii) may authorize advance payments from the Fund to facilitate removal efforts.
(e)
Regulations
The President shall—
(1) not later than 6 months after August 18, 1990, publish proposed regulations detailing the manner in which the authority to obligate the Fund and to enter into agreements under this subsection shall be exercised; and
(2) not later than 3 months after the close of the comment period for such proposed regulations, promulgate final regulations for that purpose.
(f)
Rights of subrogation

Payment of any claim or obligation by the Fund under this Act shall be subject to the United States Government acquiring by subrogation all rights of the claimant or State to recover from the responsible party.

(g)
Repealed. Pub. L. 115–282, title VIII, § 816(1), Dec. 4, 2018, 132 Stat. 4305
(h)
Period of limitations for claims
(1)
Removal costs

No claim may be presented under this subchapter for recovery of removal costs for an incident unless the claim is presented within 6 years after the date of completion of all removal actions for that incident.

(2)
Damages

No claim may be presented under this section for recovery of damages unless the claim is presented within 3 years after the date on which the injury and its connection with the discharge in question were reasonably discoverable with the exercise of due care, or in the case of natural resource damages under section 2702(b)(2)(A) of this title, if later, the date of completion of the natural resources damage assessment under section 2706(e) of this title.

(3)
Minors and incompetents
The time limitations contained in this subsection shall not begin to run—
(A) against a minor until the earlier of the date when such minor reaches 18 years of age or the date on which a legal representative is duly appointed for the minor, or
(B) against an incompetent person until the earlier of the date on which such incompetent’s incompetency ends or the date on which a legal representative is duly appointed for the incompetent.
(i)
Limitation on payment for same costs

In any case in which the President has paid an amount from the Fund for any removal costs or damages specified under subsection (a), no other claim may be paid from the Fund for the same removal costs or damages.

(j)
Obligation in accordance with plan
(1)
In general

Except as provided in paragraph (2), amounts may be obligated from the Fund for the restoration, rehabilitation, replacement, or acquisition of natural resources only in accordance with a plan adopted under section 2706(c) of this title.

(2)
Exception

Paragraph (1) shall not apply in a situation requiring action to avoid irreversible loss of natural resources or to prevent or reduce any continuing danger to natural resources or similar need for emergency action.

(k)
Preference for private persons in area affected by discharge
(1)
In general

In the expenditure of Federal funds for removal of oil, including for distribution of supplies, construction, and other reasonable and appropriate activities, under a contract or agreement with a private person, preference shall be given, to the extent feasible and practicable, to private persons residing or doing business primarily in the area affected by the discharge of oil.

(2)
Limitation

This subsection shall not be considered to restrict the use of Department of Defense resources.

(l)
Reports
(1)
In general
Each year, on the date on which the President submits to Congress a budget under section 1105 of title 31, the President, through the Secretary of the Department in which the Coast Guard is operating, shall—
(A)
provide a report on disbursements for the preceding fiscal year from the Fund, regardless of whether those disbursements were subject to annual appropriations, to—
(i) the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation; and
(ii) the House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure; and
(B) make the report available to the public on the National Pollution Funds Center Internet website.
(2)
Contents
The report shall include—
(A)
a list of each incident that—
(i) occurred in the preceding fiscal year; and
(ii) resulted in disbursements from the Fund, for removal costs and damages, totaling $500,000 or more;
(B)
a list of each incident that—
(i) occurred in the fiscal year preceding the preceding fiscal year; and
(ii) resulted in disbursements from the Fund, for removal costs and damages, totaling $500,000 or more; and
(C) an accounting of any amounts reimbursed to the Fund in the preceding fiscal year that were recovered from a responsible party for an incident that resulted in disbursements from the Fund, for removal costs and damages, totaling $500,000 or more.
(3)
Agency recordkeeping

Each Federal agency that receives amounts from the Fund shall maintain records describing the purposes for which such funds were obligated or expended in such detail as the Secretary may require for purposes of the report required under paragraph (1).

(Pub. L. 101–380, title I, § 1012, Aug. 18, 1990, 104 Stat. 498; Pub. L. 108–293, title VII, § 708(b), Aug. 9, 2004, 118 Stat. 1077; Pub. L. 111–281, title VII, § 708, Oct. 15, 2010, 124 Stat. 2984; Pub. L. 115–282, title VIII, § 816, Dec. 4, 2018, 132 Stat. 4305; Pub. L. 116–283, div. G, title LVXXXIII [LXXXIII], §§ 8302(a), 8303(b), title LVXXXV [LXXXV], § 8513(c), Jan. 1, 2021, 134 Stat. 4692, 4761.)