Today, Congressman Sires voted to hold BP accountable for the disaster in the Gulf, as well as to prevent future oil spills and protect our coastal communities and water. Both H.R. 3534, the Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources (CLEAR) Act, passed by a vote of 209 to 193, and H.R. 5851, the Offshore Oil and Gas Worker Whistleblower Protection Act, passed by a vote of 315 to 93, would create new safety measures, hold the oil industry fully responsible for the cleanup costs of the BP spill, strengthen oversight of oil drilling and restore the Gulf Coast.
"Now is the time to stand up to the oil companies and ensure that they are held accountable for disasters like that in the Gulf. This bill would help the Gulf Coast recover, while taking steps to ensure that a tragedy of this scale never happens again," said Congressman Sires. "In addition to aiding the Gulf, we are also potentially protecting the pristine beaches of New Jersey from ever having to deal with a disaster of this scale."
Specifically, this bill would implement strong new safety measures and hold the oil industry fully accountable for the cleanup costs of a spill by removing the $75 million cap on economic damages oil companies are responsible for paying. It would also strengthen oversight of oil drilling by dismantling the Mineral Management Services into three separate agencies. Additionally, it would provide taxpayer protections to make oil companies pay their fair share for drilling on public lands. Lastly, H.R. 5851 would protect offshore oil and gas workers who report violations or practices that endanger the public to state and federal government agencies.
"In addition to addressing the problems that caused the disaster in the Gulf, but it finally makes good on the promise made over 45 years ago that money obtained from the sale of the public's resources be used to protect and conserve our natural, historical, and recreational resources by providing full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF)," said Congressman Sires.