Government Views on Water-Pollution Control
- Kenneth Biglane (Dept. of the Interior)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- July 1971
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 829 - 831
- 1971. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 4.2 Pipelines, Flowlines and Risers, 6.1 HSSE & Social Responsibility Management, 6.5.5 Oil and Chemical Spills, 6.5.2 Water use, produced water discharge and disposal, 7.2.5 Emergency Preparedness and Training
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I am very pleased to be with you today and would like to discuss the federal government's views on water-pollution control. To cover the entire field of water pollution in this presentation would be too ambitious an undertaking; therefore, I will concentrate on oil-pollution control as an example of the government's views and actions toward water pollution.
The words I deliver to you today are spoken as a representative of the Dept. of the Interior. In a short while, the Environmental Protection Administration will be my mentor, as the Federal Water Quality Administration joins with other pollution control agencies in a cohesive new national program for managing the total environment.
There is no reason to expect, however, that the broad outlines of federal policy on pollution control, more specifically oil-pollution control, will change in the new agency.
I think you are well aware of the basic elements of this federal water pollution policy. Simply stated: The federal government is responsive to the American public's insistence on clean water. The federal government public's insistence on clean water. The federal government is anxious to assist in the establishment and operation of pollution control programs and facilities, but it in turn expects the cost of clean water to be shared by both the public and private interests. And finally, the federal government intends to accent its regulatory and enforcement orientation.
The basic elements of and trends in the federal oil-pollution policy may also be simply stated. The damage to the environment done by ever-increasing amounts of oil pollution must be ameliorated. The risk of accidental oil spills must be minimized through the use of adequate prevention measures and the judicious application of negative incentives for careless polluters -- i.e., prosecution, penalties and assessment of full liability for costs of cleanup. Also, the amount of oil discharged in normal operations - most especially vessel ballast discharge - must be reduced by using new procedures and equipment. When spins do occur, common sense dictates that federal, state, local, and private forces combine to insure rapid and effective private forces combine to insure rapid and effective control and cleanup.
The Torrey Canyon casualty blighted the English Channel in 1967, and awoke the world to the potential catastrophes that ply the ocean every day. potential catastrophes that ply the ocean every day. It was not until 1969, however, when the Santa Barbara well blowout shocked millions of Americans into action, that U. S. oil-pollution control programs really got off the ground.
Oil-pollution control legislation had been languishing in the Congress and appeared to be headed for a long, uphill fight. Neither the Torrey Canyon, the Ocean Eagle, the Hess Hustler nor the Witwater casualties were sufficient to get this going. The Santa Barbara episode was a spur in the side of all, and set the stage and tenor for the type of public reaction to aquatic despoilment that is prevalent today.
Public outcry over Santa Barbara sent Congress on a whirlwind of spill-control action, and various committees actually began to compete for legislation.
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