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4 Envtl. & Energy L. & Pol'y J. 1 (2009)

handle is hein.journals/eener4 and id is 1 raw text is: ARTICLE
Laurencia Fasoyiro*
The term force majeure has existed for many years.' Often
likened to impossibility, it historically embodied the notion that
parties could be relieved of performing their contractual duties
when performance was prevented by causes beyond their control,
such as an act of God. The term act of God has been defined by
Congress as an act occasioned by an unanticipated grave natural
disaster.' The use of the term grave to qualify a natural
disaster suggests that not all natural disasters are an act of God,
contrary to common belief. The disaster has to be an unusual
and extraordinary manifestation of the forces of nature that
could not have been anticipated or expected under normal
conditions.4 If the natural disaster is a normal occurrence in the
geographical area, then it could not be characterized as a grave
natural disaster, thus any resulting effect is not an act of God.
Typically, hurricanes are considered in law to be an act of
God. Nevertheless, they have to be of a grave nature to be
*Laurencia Fasoyiro is a staff attorney with the Texas Commission on Environmental
Quality, Litigation Division. Ms. Fasoyiro holds a B.A from the University of Houston, a
J.D. from Thurgood Marshall School of Law, and an LL.M in Environmental, Energy and
Natural Resources law from the University of Houston law center. All representations
and views in the following article are solely those of the author.
2.  Id.
3. Oil and Hazardous Substances Liability Act, 33 U.S.C.S. § 1321(a)(12)
(LexisNexis 1990).
4. Jacoby v. Town of Gillette, 174 P.2d 505, 509 (Wyo. 1946).
5. Skandia Ins. Co. v. Star Shipping AS, 173 F. Supp. 2d 1228, 1239-40 (D. Ala.


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