Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Federal Legislation Update

A number of bills have been introduced in Congress this session that would restrict or ban new offshore drilling or improve the regulation, safety, and oversight of drilling activities.

The strongest of these is the NO NEW DRILLING ACT (HR 261), which would ban all new offshore drilling in the United States. For more info on HR 261 and to participate in the Action Alert, please click here.

Some additional bills on offshore drilling are summarized below. We encourage you to call your congressman to ask him/ her to support the No New Drilling Act and other bills that will protect our coasts from offshore drilling.

WEST COAST OCEAN PROTECTION ACT (H.R. 612)
Representative Garamendi (D-CA) introduced the West Coast Ocean Protection Act of 2011 (H.R. 612) to amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to permanently prohibit the conduct of offshore drilling on the outer Continental Shelf off the coast of California, Oregon, and Washington.

OIL SPILL COMMISSION RECOMMENDATIONS ACT (H.R. 501)
Representative Edward Markey (D-MA) introduced H.R. 501 to provide for the implementation of the recommendations of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling. The bill also includes elements from the oil spill response bill that the House passed in July of 2010.

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA OCEAN & COASTAL PROTECTION ACT (HR 204)
Congressman Mike Thompson (D-North Coast) reintroduced legislation that would permanently prohibit oil and gas drilling off the coasts of Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte Counties to protect the unique and dynamic marine environment along the northern coast of California.

BIG OIL BAILOUT PREVENTION ACT (HR 492)
Representative Holt (D-NJ) introduced the Big Oil Bailout Prevention Act of 2011 (H.R. 492) to amend the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 to require responsible parties to pay the full cost of offshore oil spills, and for other purposes. (1/26/11). Senator Menendez (D-NJ) introduced a similar version in the Senate: Big Oil Bailout Prevention Unlimited Liability Act of 2011 (S. 214)

BIG OIL BAILOUT PREVENTION TRUST FUND ACT (S 215)
Senator Menendez (D-NJ) introduced the Big Oil Bailout Prevention Trust Fund Act of 2011 (S. 215) to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to require oil polluters to pay the full cost of oil spills, and for other purposes. (1/27/11).

RESOURCES OF OIL SPILL RESEARCH & PREVENTION ACT (S. 204)
Senator Begich (D-AK) introduced the Resources of Oil Spill Research and Prevention Act (S. 204) to amend the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 to permit funds in the Oil Spill Liability Trust to be used by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Coast Guard, and other Federal agencies for certain research, prevention, and response capabilities with respect to discharges of oil, for environmental studies, and for grant programs to communities affected by oil spills on the outer Continental Shelf, and to provide funding for such uses and for other purposes.

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