Contamination of the water, land or air from oil, oil products, hazardous chemicals or effluent. Several pieces of legislation (listed chronologically below) have been enacted by the federal government and several states to control and assess penalties against those who pollute:
- TOVALOP - 1968 (Tanker Owners' Voluntary Agreement Concerning Liability for Oil Pollution). An agreement subscribed by most of the world's tanker operators whereby they agree to reimburse governments for pollution clean-up costs in the event of an oil spill. Each member insures its potential liability under the agreement.
- CRISTAL - (The Contract Regarding an Interim Supplement to the Tanker Liability for Oil Pollution 1971). Provides a fund supported by oil cargo owners to satisfy damages suffered by governments and individuals caused by an oil spill. The fund will pay a maximum of $135 million. Participation in TOVALOP is a prerequisite for coverage under Cristal.
- CERCLA - (Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980). Applies to the discharge of hazardous substances such as chemical waste, solid waste, garbage, biological materials, heat, discarded equipment and industrial waste, in addition to petroleum.
- FWPCA - (Federal Water Pollution Prevention and Control Act of 1990) is part of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (Cercla) of 1980.
- OPA 90 - (Federal Water Pollution Prevention and Control Act and Oil Pollution Act of 1990). A federal law supplementing the Federal Water Pollution Prevention and Control Act (FWPCA) of 1971 setting stringent liabilities and criminal penalties for pollution in U.S. waters.
- OPRC - (The Oil Pollution Preparedness Response and Cooperation Convention) was adopted by IMO (International Maritime Organization of the United Nations) in 1990 as a cooperative agreement between signatory nations to establish pre-positioned pollution response equipment and cooperate with equipment and manpower in the event of an oil spill.