Senate Bill No. 415
(By Senators Ross and Helmick)
[Introduced February 16, 1996; referred to the Committee
on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend chapter fifteen of the code of West Virginia, one
thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, by adding
thereto a new article, designated article five-b, relating
to creating the West Virginia limited liability for persons
responding to oil spills act; definitions; and providing
limited immunity from liability for removal costs and
damages for those persons responding to an oil spill or the
threat of an oil spill.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That chapter fifteen of the code of West Virginia, one
thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended by
adding thereto a new article, designated article five-b, to read as follows:
ARTICLE 5B. WEST VIRGINIA LIMITED LIABILITY FOR PERSONS
RESPONDING TO OIL SPILLS ACT.
§15-5B-1. Short title.
This article may be cited as the "West Virginia Limited
Liability for Persons Responding to Oil Spills Act."
For the purposes of this article:
(a) "Damages" means damages of any kind for which liability
may exist under the laws of this state resulting from, arising
out of, or related to the discharge or threatened discharge of
(b) "Discharge" means any emission (other than natural
seepage), intentional or unintentional, and includes, but is not
limited to, spilling, leaking, pumping, pouring, emitting,
emptying or dumping;
(c) "Federal on-scene coordinator" means the federal
official designated by the lead agency or predesignated by the
United States Environmental Protection Agency or the United
States Coast Guard to coordinate and direct responses under the
national contingency plan (NCP);
(d) "National contingency plan" means the national contingency plan prepared and published under section 311(d) of
the federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1321 (d)), as
amended by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, Public Law No. 101-380,
104 Stat. 484 (1990);
(e) "Oil" means oil of any kind or in any form, including,
but not limited to, petroleum, fuel oil, sludge, oil refuse and
oil mixed with wastes other than dredged spoil;
(f) "Person" means an individual, corporation, partnership,
association, state, municipality, commission or political
subdivision of a state or any interstate body;
(g) "Remove" or "removal" means containment and removal of
oil or a hazardous substance from water and shorelines or the
taking of other actions as may be necessary to minimize or
mitigate damage to the public health or welfare, including, but
not limited to, fish, shellfish, wildlife and public and private
property, shorelines and beaches;
(h) " Removal costs" means the costs of removal that are
incurred after a discharge of oil has occurred or, in any case in
which there is a substantial threat of a discharge of oil, the
costs to prevent, minimize or mitigate oil pollution from such an
(i) "Responsible party" means a responsible party as defined
under §1001 of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, Public Law No.
101-380, 104 Stat. 484 (1990).
§15-5B-3. Exemption from liability.
(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the
contrary, a person is not liable for removal costs or damages
which result from actions taken or omitted to be taken in the
course of rendering care, assistance or advice consistent with
the national contingency plan or as otherwise directed by the
federal on-scene coordinator or by the state official charged
with responsibility for oil spill response.
(b) Subsection (a) does not apply:
(1) To a responsible party;
(2) With respect to personal injury or wrongful death; or
(3) If the person is grossly negligent or engages in willful
(c) A responsible party is liable for any removal costs and
damages that another person is relieved of under the provisions
of subsection (a) of this section.
(d) Nothing in this section affects the liability of a
responsible party for oil spill response under state law.
NOTE: This bill creates the West Virginia Limited Liability
for Persons Responding to Oil Spills Act.
Article 5B is new; therefore, strike-throughs and
underscoring have been omitted.