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45 Colum. J.L. & Soc. Probs. [i] (2011-2012)

handle is hein.journals/collsp45 and id is 1 raw text is: COLUMBIA JOURNAL OF LAW
Volume 45                     Number 1                        Fall 2011
Copyright © 2011 by the Columbia Journal of Law and Social Problems, Inc.
CONGRESSIONAL INTENT ........................................................ 1
The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in 2010 was a rude reminder of the
potentially disastrous consequences of a large oil spill. Many residents and
businesses throughout the Gulf Coast suffered financial losses without
accompanying physical injury to their property. The common law would deny
recovery for such claims on the grounds that physical injury to a proprietary
interest must accompany any claim for economic losses. Under the Oil
Pollution Act of 1990, however, a claimant need not prove proprietary harm to
recover. Yet, because of vague statutory language and underdeveloped case
law, precisely when a claimant may recover for a purely economic loss
remains unclear. Both the courts and the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, which
administers a fund for claims arising from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill,
accept that proximate cause analysis should limit liability, but have not
fleshed out the required nexus between the spill and the financial loss. This
creates uncertainty and allows recovery in circumstances not clearly required
by the Act's language, both of which impose unwarranted costs on the
recovery scheme. To reduce these costs, courts could narrowly interpret the
Act's pure economic loss provision to require what this Note calls direct
economic injury. The first-best solution, however, is for Congress to delegate
authority to the Environmental Protection Agency so that it may construct
more informed, flexible, and politically accountable rules regarding recovery
for pure economic losses.
DEFINITION OF BLIGHT ........................................................... 45
The Supreme Court's controversial 2005 decision in Kelo v. City of New
London held that states could use their power of eminent domain to condemn
private property and transfer it to private developers for the purpose of
economic development. In the aftermath of this decision, states rapidly
amended their eminent domain laws in an effort to strike an appropriate
balance between protecting private property rights and promoting the greater
good through beneficial redevelopment.   In large part, these reforms
prohibited the exercise of eminent domain if the public purpose supporting
the taking was economic development. However, the efficacy of these reforms
at protecting individual property rights was undercut by broad exceptions for
blight clearance, which the Supreme Court held a constitutional public
purpose in its 1954 decision in Berman v. Parker. In many states, blight is

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