Today, the House Environment and Natural Resources Committee took the first steps to remove a cap that limits the financial liability of corporations responsible for oil or hazardous waste spills off our coast. Currently North Carolina follows the federal cap which is placed at the cost of clean up, plus 75 million. The main provision of Senate Bill 836 completely removes the State's tie to the federal liability cap.
Over the last few weeks there has been a lot of debate at the national level on whether or not the cap should be raised to 10 billion. Although the US Senate has not yet acted, its great to see the General Assembly moving quickly to insure North Carolina is capable of handling a potential spill.
The bill also requires that the Coastal Resources Commission review existing laws and regulations pertaining to offshore energy exploration and production and make recommendations to the Environmental Review Commission before October of 2011. Along those same lines the bill also directs the Department of Public Safety to review and update the State's oil spill contingency plan.
The bill now moves to Judiciary 1 for its consideration.