U.S. District Court Finds U.S. Coast Guard’s National Pollution Funds Center Acted Arbitrarily and Capriciously When Denying Oil Spill Claim

May 2017

Pratt’s Energy Law Report

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia recently ruled that the U.S. Coast Guard’s National Pollution Funds Center wrongfully denied a reimbursement claim by the Water Quality Insurance Syndicate for the costs of cleaning up an oil spill in Alaska in 2009. The authors of this article discuss the decision and its implications.

In December 2016, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia found that the U.S. Coast Guard’s National Pollution Funds Center (“NPFC”) wrongfully denied a reimbursement claim by the Water Quality Insurance Syndicate (“WQIS”) for the costs of cleaning up an oil spill in Cook Inlet, Alaska in January 2009. This opinion provided a powerful finding that a federal agency acted arbitrarily and capriciously in taking final agency action under the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”). The opinion puts federal agencies on notice that agency determinations must be supported by the factual record.

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“U.S. District Court Finds U.S. Coast Guard’s National Pollution Funds Center Acted Arbitrarily and Capriciously When Denying Oil Spill Claim,” by Jonathan K. Waldron, Jeanne M. Grasso, and Sean T. Pribyl was published in the May 2017 edition of Pratt’s Energy Law Report, an A.S. Pratt Publication, LexisNexis. Reprinted with permission.

This article was first published as a Blank Rome Maritime Advisory in February 2017.