July 20, 2010 / 6:32 PM / 9 years ago

FACTBOX-US legislation spurred by oil spill

  July 20 (Reuters) - As BP struggles to fully contain its
leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico, lawmakers have introduced
more than 40 oil spill-related bills. Following are highlights
of legislation circulating on the Hill.
 DRILLING REGULATION
 Consolidated Land, Energy and Aquatic Resources (CLEAR) Act
of 2009 (H.R. 3534) [ID:nN15210454]
 Sponsor: Nick Rahall, House Democrat from Virginia
 Status: Approved by House Committee on Natural Resources
 * Prohibits oil companies with poor safety records from
getting new offshore drilling leases
 * Permits and leases would be denied for federal law
violations such as worker deaths, large fines
 * Introduces specific guidelines to use of oil and gas
royalties
 Outer Continental Shelf Reform Act of 2010 (S.3516)
 Sponsor: Jeff Bingaman, Senate Democrat from New Mexico;
Lisa Murkowski, Senate Republican from Alaska
 Status: Approved by Senate Energy and Natural Resources
Committee
 * Revamps the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act
 * Broadens Interior Department's role in ensuring
environmental and safety standards are met before oil companies
receive offshore drilling leases and permits
 Blowout Prevention Act of 2010 (H.R.5626) [ID:nN25205403]
[ID:nN15210454]
 Sponsor: Henry Waxman, House Democrat from California;
Edward Markey, House Democrat from Massachusetts; Bart Stupak,
House Democrat from Michigan
 Status: Approved by House Committee on Energy and Commerce
 * Expands regulation of all "high-risk" wells, both
offshore and onshore
 * Allows citizen lawsuits against oil producers
 * Prohibits drilling without blowout preventers
 Stop Cozy Relationships with Big Oil Act of 2010 (S.3431)
 Sponsor: Robert Menendez, Senate Democrat from New Jersey
 Status: Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held
hearings
 * Prohibits employees of the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy
from accepting gifts or owning stock in oil and gas companies
 * Introduces a two-year gap before former BOE employees can
work for an oil or gas company
 * Imposes fines and possibility of prison sentences of up
to 15 years on BOE workers who issue false statements
 LIABILITY
 Securing Protections for the Injured from Limitations on
Liability (SPILL) Act (H.R.5503)
 Sponsor: John Conyers, House Democrat from Michigan
 Status: Referred to Senate Committee on Commerce, Science
and Transportation
 * Removes financial liability cap for vessel owners, such
as Transocean Ltd.
 * Changes bankruptcy rules so companies cannot avoid damage
payments
 Oil Spill Accountability and Environmental Protection Act
of 2010 (H.R.5629)
 Sponsor: James Oberstar, House Democrat from Minnesota
 Status: Awaiting voice vote in House Committee on
Transportation and Infrastructure
 * Removes the liability cap for oil companies and makes
them responsible for all cleanup costs and damages
 * Would require all oil rigs operated within 200 miles off
the U.S. coast be owned by American citizens
 Big Oil Bailout Prevention Unlimited Liability Act of 2010
(S. 3472) [ID:nN30203706]
 Sponsor: Robert Menendez, Senate Democrat New Jersey
 Status: Referred to committee for review on June 9
 * Removes liability cap of $75 million on oil spills
 Acceptance of Liability and Expedited Claims at Mississippi
Canyon 252 Act (S.3410)
 Sponsor: David Vitter, Senate Republican from Louisiana;
Lisa Murkowski, Senate Republican from Alaska
 Status: Read twice and placed on the Senate calendar
 * Creates an Office of Deepwater Horizon Claims
Compensation at the Department of the Interior to compensate
all people and governmental entities affected by the oil spill
 SPILL PREVENTION
 Stop Oil Spills (SOS) Act (H.R.5607) [ID:nN25172860]
 Sponsor: Edward Markey, House Democrat from Massachusetts
 Status: Referred on June 25 to committees for review
 * Redirects $50 million a year from oil and gas royalty
fees to a Department of Energy research grant program
 * Funding offset by ending certain drilling subsidies
 * Targets research into blowout preventers on wells, backup
control systems, remotely operated vehicles that gather data in
deep water, capturing oil that escapes from offshore wells
 Better Oil Spill Response Plan Act of 2010 (H.R.5608)
 Sponsor: Edward Markey, House Democrat from Massachusetts
 Status: Referred on June 25 to two committees for review
 * Requires oil companies to provide updated oil spill
response plans
 * Calls on the U.S. president to revise and update national
response plans, including for worst-case scenarios
 SPILL INVESTIGATION
 Subpoena power for national commission on the BP Deepwater
Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling (H.R.5481)
 Sponsor: Lois Capps, House Democrat from California
 Status: Passed by the House on June 23, and placed on
Senate calendar
 * Authorizes President Barack Obama's oil spill
investigation commission to subpoena witnesses and records with
approval from the U.S. Attorney General
 * Allows Attorney General to prosecute those disobeying
subpoenas.
  (Compiled by Alina Selyukh and Jasmin Melvin; Editing by Lisa
Shumaker)

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