FACTBOX-Overview of U.S. House, Senate energy bills

Tue Jul 27, 2010 5:37pm EDT

 July 27 (Reuters) - Senate Democrats unveiled their
narrowed-down energy bill on Tuesday, focusing on offshore
drilling reform and promoting alternative-fuel vehicles.
 The draft Senate legislation effectively mirrors the House
version of the oil spill bill, but adds energy efficiency
provisions, a spokesman for the Pew Environment Group said.
 Before Congress breaks for the August recess, House
lawmakers are expected to vote on their version of the
legislation. Congress may have to reconcile the two before
passage.
 Following are highlights of the Senate and House energy
bills.
 SENATE:
 Clean Energy Jobs and Oil Company Accountability Act
[ID:nN2797530]
 SPONSOR
 Harry Reid, Democrat from Nevada, Senate majority leader
 STATUS
 Draft legislation
 KEY PROVISIONS
 * Removes the $75 million liability cap on companies owning
or operating offshore oil rigs, making them responsible for all
cleanup costs and damages associated with an oil spill.
 * Requires federal regulations on oil spill response
plans.
 * Puts increased focus on federal and private sector
research and development of oil spill removal and response
technologies.
 * Amends the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to
strengthen planning and safety requirements, tighten
oversight.
 * Amends the Death on the High Seas Act to better deal with
wrongful deaths, and corrects other outdated maritime and
admiralty laws.
 * Creates programs to support the infrastructure and
deployment of plug-in electric vehicles and alternative fuel
vehicles that use natural gas.
 * Provides $3.8 billion for a rebate program for buyers of
alternative fuel vehicles by 2013.
 * Invests $5 billion in Home Star, an energy efficiency
program.
 * Authorizes a $900 million annual budget for the Land and
Water Conservation Fund over the next five years.
 * Increases the $1 billion liability cap of the Oil Spill
Liability Trust Fund to $5 billion, and raises the amount oil
companies must pay to the fund.
 HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 H.R. 3534
 Consolidated Land, Energy and Aquatic Resources (CLEAR) Act
of 2010 [ID:nN15210454]
 SPONSOR
 Nick Rahall, Democrat from Virginia, chairman of the House
Natural Resources Committee
 STATUS
 Approved by Committee on Natural Resources
 KEY PROVISIONS
 * Removes the $75 million liability cap on oil companies
for damages incurred by their offshore drilling activities.
 * Increases liability cap for vessels and onshore
facilities.
 * Prohibits oil companies with poor safety records from
bidding for new offshore drilling leases, effectively barring
BP Plc (BP.L)(BP.N) from starting new U.S. offshore
operations.
 * Permits or leases would be denied for more than 10 worker
deaths or fines greater than $10 million as a result of
violating federal or state health, safety or environmental laws
in previous seven years.
 * Amends the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to adapt new
guidelines to leases and use of oil and gas royalty fees.
 * Reforms oil and gas royalty rules to double fines for
violation of payment guidelines and allow for federal
compliance reviews.
 * Reorganizes federal regulation of oil and natural gas
operations by creating three agencies that are appointed by the
president and approved by the Senate.
 * The three agencies split the responsibilities on issuing
onshore and offshore leases, policing operations and collecting
royalty fees.
 (Compiled by Alina Selyukh and Jasmin Melvin; Editing by
Marguerita Choy)





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