On Friday the U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of an energy bill responding to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, but Senate Democrats are struggling to find 60 votes needed to overcome a Republican filibuster of their bill. The House bill, called the Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources (CLEAR) Act, passed by a rather narrow margin of 209-193, as some oil-state Democrats joined Republicans in opposition.
The bill is designed to strengthen regulation and oversight of the oil and gas industry, hold BP accountable for the economic and natural resources costs of its Deepwater Horizon oil spill, enact stronger safeguards for oil rig safety, spill prevention and response, and provide better protections for American coasts, lands, and waters.
The Congressional Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC) specifically praised two amendments added to the bill.
The first closes a legal loophole that would allow BP or another parent company to escape the costs for which a subsidiary company was liable as a result of an oil spill.
The second forces companies to pay royalty costs on all the American oil that is lost in a spill. Under current law, companies are made to pay only for the oil that they produce for consumption.
SEEC is a caucus of fifty-five Democratic members of the House of Representatives that was founded in January, 2009. SEEC is co-chaired by Reps. Jay Inslee (D-WA.) and Steve Israel (D-NY) and supports “policies that promote clean energy technology innovation and domestic manufacturing, develop renewable energy resources, and create green collar jobs throughout the product supply-chain, (and) polices to help arrest global warming and protect our nation’s clean air, water and natural environment.”