The fund is maintained through a per-barrel tax of $0.09, which is set to expire at the end of 2017.
According to a press release from Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), the fund is currently at $5.7 billion. As of writing, no renewal to the tax has been introduced.
In the same release, PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch said that “The main advantage of having a Trust Fund is the ability to respond quickly to a major spill without having to wait for Congress to act”.
According to a Coast Guard report on disbursements in the 2015 financial year, the fund gave out over $225 million. As the report only disclosed payments over $250,000, the whole sum is unknown.
The fund picks up costs when companies and local authorities cannot afford to clean up. It is also used to fund the training of state and local departments responding to incidents, research to improve incident response and Coast Guard personnel, equipment and operating expenses.