Section 6-5-332.2

Immunity of persons responding to oil spills.

(a) This section shall be known and may be cited as the Alabama Act Regarding Liability for Persons Responding to Oil Spills.

(b) For the purposes of this section, the following terms shall have the following meanings:

(1) DAMAGES. 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 oil.

(2) DISCHARGE. Any emission (other than natural seepage), intentional or unintentional, and includes, but is not limited to, spilling, leaking, pumping, pouring, emitting, emptying, or dumping.

(3) FEDERAL ON-SCENE COORDINATOR. The federal official predesignated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or the U.S. Coast Guard to coordinate and direct federal responses under subpart D of the National Contingency Plan, or the official designated by the lead agency to coordinate and direct removal under subpart E, of the National Contingency Plan.

(4) NATIONAL CONTINGENCY PLAN. 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, Pub. L. No. 101-380, 104 Stat. 484 (1990).

(5) OIL. Oil of any kind or in any form, including, but not limited to, petroleum, fuel oil, gasoline, sludge, oil refuse, and oil mixed with wastes other than dredged spoil.

(6) PERSON. An individual, corporation, partnership, association, state, municipality, commission, or political subdivision of a state, or any interstate body.

(7) REMOVAL COSTS. 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 incident.

(8) RESPONSIBLE PARTY.

a. Vessels. In the case of a vessel, any person owning, operating, or demise chartering the vessel.

b. Onshore Facilities. In the case of an onshore facility (other than a pipeline), any person owning or operating the facility, except a federal agency, state, municipality, commission, or political subdivision of a state, or any interstate body, that as owner, transfers possession and right to use the property to another person by lease, assignment, or permit.

c. Offshore Facilities. In the case of an offshore facility (other than a pipeline or a deepwater port licensed under the Deepwater Port Act of 1974 (33 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.), the lessee or permittee of the area in which the facility is located or the holder of a right of use and easement granted under applicable state law or the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (43 U.S.C. 1301-1356) for the area in which the facility is located (if the holder is a different person than the lessee or permittee), except a federal agency, state, municipality, commission, or political subdivision of a state, or any interstate body, that as owner, transfers possession and right to use the property to another person by lease, assignment, or permit.

d. Deepwater Ports. In the case of a deepwater port licensed under the Deepwater Port Act of 1974 (33 U.S.C. 1501-1524), the licensee.

e. Pipelines. In the case of a pipeline, any person owning or operating the pipeline.

f. Abandonment. In the case of an abandoned vessel, onshore facility, deepwater port, pipeline, or offshore facility, the persons who would have been responsible parties immediately prior to the abandonment of the vessel or facility.

(c) (1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a person, including a response action contractor as defined in Section 22-35-3, 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 any state official with responsibility for oil spill response.

(2) Subdivision (1) of this subsection does not apply:

a. to a responsible party;

b. with respect to personal injury or wrongful death;

c. if the person is grossly negligent or engages in wanton or willful misconduct: or

d. If the person's act(s) or omission(s) proximately caused, in whole or in part, the original actual or threatening discharge; or any additional or further actual or threatening discharge.

(3) A responsible party is liable for any removal costs and damages that another person is relieved of under subdivision (1).

(4) Nothing in this section affects the liability of a responsible party for oil spill response under state law.

(Acts 1991, No. 91-470, p. 852, §§1-3; Act 2015-466, §1.)