WATCHING WASHINGTON FRESH SPILLS MAY PROD LAWMAKERS

With Patrick Crow Recent tanker accidents off New York and Galveston may give Congress the boost it needs to agree on a comprehensive oil spill liability bill. Last year, in the wake of the Mar. 24 Exxon Valdez accident, congressmen moved to legislate a solution. The Senate passed an oil spill liability bill Aug. 4 and the House Nov. 8. But because the legislation is complicated and controversial, little has happened since a conference committee began trying to reconcile the two bills.

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