Bonjour à toutes et à tous, je vous signale la publication de ce numéro spécial de la Louisiana Law Review consacré au dommage écologique (ici, Volume 7, Spring 2011, Number 3). Je suis certain que vous allez y trouver beaucoup d'informations précieuses, notamment celles relatives aux dernières évolutions législatives en Amérique du Nord. Au programme de la revue :
Death at Sea: A Sad Tale of Disaster, Injustice, and Unnecessary Risk de Thomas C. Galligan, Jr., 71 La. L. Rev. 787 (2011) : On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon, a movable drilling rig owned by Transocean and working on behalf of a group that included BP, exploded, killing 11 men and causing oil to spew and spread through the Gulf of Mexico toward land. The ensuing disaster in the Gulf of Mexico resulted in death, injury, environmental devastation, and economic loss to individuals, businesses, and governmental entities. It was the most publicized oil field disaster since the Exxon Valdez debacle off the coast of Alaska. The staggering consequences of the Deepwater Horizon spill force America and the world to ask whether applicable United States laws are fair, consistent, and up to date. Do they provide adequate compensation to the victims of maritime and environmental disasters? And do those laws provide economic actors with proper incentives to ensure efficient investments in accident avoidance activities? Does the law appropriately hold tortfeasors accountable? Sadly, an analysis of the relevant laws reveals a climate of limited liability and undercompensation.
Prometheus Unbound: The Gulf Coast Claims Facility as a Means for Resolving Mass Tort Claims–A Fund Too Far de Linda S. Mullenix, 71 La. L. Rev. 819 (2011) : In the morality play of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, BP assumed the Promethean role of modern energy-bringer to mankind. In its arrogance for attempting to expropriate energy from miles below the ocean floor and bring oil to mankind, BP precipitated a massive calamity. As a consequence, BP faced the eternal punishment of being lashed to the American Caucasus of never-ending civil litigation, perpetually to be pecked away by claimants. Rather than endure this interminable retribution, BP instead chose to terminate its own agony as quickly as possible by creating a fund. And, Hercules―in the form of the heroic Ken Feinberg―appeared to BP just in time to slay the civil litigators and liberate BP.
Liability Under the Oil Pollution Act: Current Law and Needed Revisions de Kenneth M. Murchison, 71 La. L. Rev. 917 (2011) : Federal law governing liability for oil pollution has largely developed at two-decade intervals in response to major oil spills. Major spills from a tanker and an offshore oil platform led to the enactment of the first federal statute governing oil pollution liability, the Federal Water Quality Improvement Act of 1970. Twenty years later, the release of oil following the grounding of the Exxon Valdez prompted Congress to enact the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. Today, the oil released as a result of the blowout at BP’s Deepwater Horizon well in the Gulf of Mexico has raised new questions regarding the adequacy of the existing federal provisions governing liability for oil spills.
The BP Spill and the Meaning of “Gross Negligence or Willful Misconduct” de Patrick H. Martin, 71 La. L. Rev. 957 (2011) : The blowout of the Macondo well on April 20, 2010 and the resulting escape of oil into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and onto the shores of coastal states set in motion numerous lawsuits that will take years to resolve. A significant amount of the liability and penalties arising from the Gulf oil spill will turn on the treatment given to the terms “gross negligence” and “willful misconduct.” Should the United States decide to bring a criminal complaint for manslaughter for the lives lost in the accident, “gross negligence” may also be an element in defining the crime. The terms involve interpretation as statutory, contractual, and common law standards. The undertaking is more complex than it might first appear; it will involve courts, arbitrators, and federal agencies. Because of the complexity, some framework for interpretation of the terms may be useful. The aspiration of this Article is to provide a framework for the interpretative process without analysis or application of facts within the framework.
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