August 30, 2018

Sleeper Facilities and Oil Pollution Act Liability

Sean M. Sullivan

Today, most oil production in the United States occurs in Alaska, Texas, North Dakota, Montana, California, and the Gulf of Mexico. This wasn’t always the case, though. Oil production in Pennsylvania predates the Revolutionary War. From the beginning of the Civil War until the early 20th century, Ohio, Kentucky, Western New York, and the area that became West Virginia all produced large quantities of oil. The first well in Colorado dates from 1862. Production began in Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Northern Louisiana, East Texas, Alaska, and California during latter parts of the 19th century. As a result, there are a number of abandoned facilities in these states. Not all of them are known, even to the parties who own the land where they are located, and many of them were closed using methods that––with the benefit of hindsight––one might question.

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