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Volume 21, Issue 3 — March 1991


The Oil Pollution Control Act of 1990: Its Provisions, Intent, and Effects

by Russell V. Randle

Editors' Summary: The newest federal environmental statute, the Oil Pollution Act, became law in August 1990. The product of 15 years of congressional deliberation, the Act sets out an expansive new liability system for oil spills, as well as requirements for the oil industry and its suppliers, that will affect operations well into the 21st century.

In this Article, the author analyzes the Oil Pollution Act, exploring both the black-letter law of the statute and some of its likely effects.

Underground Storage Tanks: The Federal Program Matures

by Katherine S. Yagerman

Editors' Summary: There are an estimated 300,000 leaking underground storage tanks (USTs) in the United States today. These tanks are believed to be a leading cause of groundwater pollution. To address this situation, Congress enacted Subtitle I of the RCRA, Regulation of Underground Storage Tanks. Subtitle I, and the regulations promulgated by EPA, address aspects of UST use from notification of tank existence to performance standards for new tanks to corrective action and tank closure. The author examines each aspect of the UST program, focusing on which tanks are regulated, who is responsible for them, and what substances they contain. The author examines the program's emphasis on state responsibility for detailed regulation and its adoption of total quality management techniques to foster creativity. The author concludes with observations on using the UST program as a model for other federal programs.


Environmental Crisis Management: Attorneys and Communications Professionals Working Together

by Frank M. Corrado

Environmental crises make big news. The litany of catastrophes that made it to the top of the network newscasts in the 1970s and 1980s is long: Three Mile Island, Love Canal, Bhopal, Chernoble, the Exxon Valdez, to name a few.1 Attorneys involved in environmental issues are often confronted with crisis situations—an accidental oil spill, a chemical release, employee misconduct, and so on. How news of these crises is communicated to the public can affect not necessarily the outcome of courtroom battles, but assuredly the public's perception of the company's goodwill and perhaps its ability to remain in business. But how and what to inform the public after a crisis occurs frequently throw a company into turmoil, with lawyers and public relations professionals vehemently disagreeing about what to say, what to do, and how to do it.

This Dialogue discusses how environmental attorneys can work with top-level management, communications professionals, and employees to put a crisis management program in place before a crisis occurs. It lists the steps to take to set up such a program and discusses the value of doing so. It also presents a case study, demonstrating how some of the media tips discussed in a recent dialogue2 can be used in a crisis management program.