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Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program

Buzzards Bay Oil Spill Commission Information

Related Pages:    Mass Oil Spill Act  |   Navigation Issues 

Related Info: Coast Guard Changes Navigation Rules

The US Coast Guard always had the authority to implement many of the provisions of the Massachusetts Oil Spill Act into their coastal navigation regulations, but did not do so until August 31, 2007. Go to our Mass Oil Spill Act for more information on the new Coast Guard regulations, and how they relate to the Massachusetts Oil Spill Act.

Buzzards Bay Oil Commission Info

In 2003, the state legislature's Natural Resources and Agricultural Committee, chaired by Representative William G. Greene Jr., set up a Commission to investigate potential state action to prevent future oil spills in Buzzards Bay. The Acting Chair of this Buzzards Bay Oil Commission is State Representative John Quinn of Dartmouth. The Commission is composed of 11 State Reps, 5 Senators, and 4 non-legislative personnel, 2 of which will be appointed by the Governor.

Commission Members

The purpose of the special Commission is to study the ecological and environmental impacts of the oil spill in Buzzards Bay, and to investigate changes to laws and regulations to increase the safety of commercial barges traveling in state waters.

The Commission held three public hearings as follows: The Commission's first meeting was February 5, 2004. Read the minutes of the meeting (pdf file). The Commission issued its recommendations for legislation at the end of April.

The Oil Commission filed legislation.

The history of the bill is at this General Court website: House No. 4724 and at House No. 4831

October 2003 MA Senate Journal note referencing the Buzzards Bay oil spill commission

Commission Authorization in Section 595 of Chapter 26 of the Acts of 2003

SECTION 595. The legislature shall establish a 19 member special commission to study the ecological and environmental impact of the oil spill in Buzzards Bay by Bouchard barge #120 and to investigate legislative changes to existing laws and regulations to increase safety of commercial barges traveling in state waters. The commission shall also evaluate the potential changes in both civil and criminal laws that may apply to the operation of commercial barges in state waters. Said commission shall consist of 15 legislators, 2 of which shall include the House and Senate chairs of the Natural Resources and Agriculture committees, 5 members appointed by the President of the Senate, and 10 members appointed by the Speaker of the House, including at least one member in each chamber from the minority party; and 4 non-legislator members, 2 appointed by the Governor and 2 appointed by the Attorney General. Said special commission shall submit its report and recommendation, if any, to the legislature by November 1, 2003.


Oil Commission and pre-passage Legislation Articles

July 15, 2004 Standard Times article

October 24, 2004 New Bedford Standard Times newspaper article on the state legislature's Buzzards Bay Oil Spill Commission. (see 4th paragraph)

February 6, 2004 New Bedford Standard Times newspaper article on the state legislature's Buzzards Bay Oil Spill Commission.

February 25, 2004 New Bedford Standard Times newspaper article on the state legislature's Buzzards Bay Oil Spill Commission.


Massachusetts 2004 Oil Spill Act Legislation

The work of the oil spill commission led to the passage of Chapter 251 of the Acts of 2004. AN ACT RELATIVE TO OIL SPILL PREVENTION AND RESPONSE IN BUZZARDS BAY AND OTHER HARBORS AND BAYS OF THE COMMONWEALTH.

More information about the Massachusetts Oil Spill Act and the ongoing legal battles can be found on our Massachusetts Oil Spill Act page.