North American Issues

The US District Court judge for the District of Massachusetts has granted the motion to intervene submitted by INTERTANKO and the industry alliance to join the US federal government as plaintiffs in the Massachusetts Oil Spill Act lawsuit. 

INTERTANKO has allied itself with the American Waterways Operators, the Chamber of Shipping of America and BIMCO to petition to join the US government complaint against the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  This industry alliance views the Massachusetts State Oil Spill Act as a threat to safety and the environment.  This decision by the District Court judge now makes INTERTANKO and its industry allies full parties to the lawsuit along with the US government, the state of Massachusetts and the Coalition for Buzzards Bay which was granted its motion to intervene as a defendant.

The lawsuit, filed by the US Department of Justice (Civil Action No. 05-10112 JLT) on January 18, 2005, charges that the Oil Spill Act impermissibly treads jurisdiction of the US Coast Guard in making rules governing maritime operations in US waters.  It also asserts that comprehensive federal regulations already exist in the areas covered by the state Act and that the Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution provides that federal laws and regulations override any attempt by a state government to legislate or regulate in the same area.  This same provision was upheld when INTERTANKO won its long-running legal battle against the State of Washington by a unanimous US Supreme Court decision in US vs Locke, 529 US 89 (2000).

INTERTANKO and the industry alliance will now work closely with the US Justice Department to ensure prompt consideration of the merits of this case through a summary judgement. 

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