Protection of marine resources: the US Oil Pollution Act of 1990 and the future of the maritime industry
Media coverage of 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in US coastal waters enhanced public awareness of marine pollution and made Alaskan natural resources valuable for more individuals. Consequently, political pressures led the US Congress to enact comprehensive legislation - the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA90), with the aim of reducing the number and the volume of accidental oil spills and also minimizing damage to marine and coastal natural resources. A methodology is proposed which incorporates the impact of oil pollution regulations, public awareness, navigational risk and oil spills on the cost of oil transfer to maritime industry. Estimated benefit-cost ratios of OPA90 regulations such as the double hull requirement and vessel response plans are found to be less than one even when natural resources are valued at post-Exxon Valdez levels.
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