House Passes Oil Spill Response Legislation

Bill will help prevent future oil and gas drilling disasters


Jessica Ennis, Earthjustice, (202) 295-7619

By a vote of 209-193 the House passed the Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources (CLEAR) Act of 2010 which will directly address the crisis in the Gulf of Mexico and better protect America’s coastal environment and economies.

The following statement is from Jessica Ennis, Legislative Associate at Earthjustice:

“The Deepwater Horizon disaster has clearly shown us that oil and gas drilling pose serious risks to the environment and coastal communities. The disaster highlighted inadequacies with current regulations governing offshore drilling and the CLEAR Act takes important steps to reform this process.

“While we are pleased with the passage of such important legislation, we are disappointed that the Melancon amendment passed. This changes the terms of the current temporary moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico and we hope that this provision is deleted before the president signs it into law.

“However, there are still good points to this bill. It will strengthen environmental and safety laws that govern offshore drilling. It brings common sense reforms to the process by stepping up environmental reviews and it strengthens the requirements of oil spill response plans.

“This legislation also repeals two exemptions that made onshore drilling more risky. First, the bill closes a loophole for oil and gas construction, so industry will now be required to obtain stormwater permits for construction projects. The second exemption will ensure that appropriate NEPA review is complete before oil and gas activity on federal land is permitted.

“We are pleased to see Congress reining in the oil and gas industry and moving swiftly to usher in an era of accountability.”

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