July 30 (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives’ legislation reforming offshore drilling would have to be reconciled with a separate Senate energy bill that may be voted on before lawmakers leave for their August recess. [ID:nN30172764]
Following are highlights of the House energy bill.
* Removes the $75 million liability cap for offshore operations.
* Requires a maximum proof of financial responsibility of $300 million.
* Increases liability cap for vessels and onshore facilities.
* 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.
* Tighter requirements for blowout preventers, well design and well cementing for offshore projects, including on state lands
* 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.
* Requires all vessels in U.S. coastal waters to fly an American flag, employ U.S. citizens and be owned by Americans.
* Imposes a new conservation fee of $2 on every barrel of oil and 20 cents on every one thousand cubic feet of natural gas drilled on federal leases located both onshore and offshore. The fee would expire at the end of 2021.
* Requires the Interior Department to determine within two years the offshore boundaries of coastal states to ensure offshore drilling doesn’t spill over into Florida waters. The state does not allow oil exploration off its shore.
* Gives the Coast Guard 90 days to complete an inventory of all vessels operating in U.S. waters that are capable of responding to a major oil spill. The vessel inventory would be updated every quarter.
* Modifies the purpose of the government’s offshore oil and gas leasing plan that is issued every five years so it will no longer just “meet national energy needs,” but instead will “balance national energy needs and the protection of the marine and coastal environment and all the resources in that environment.
Compiled by Alina Selyukh; Editing by Lisa Shumaker
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.