Provisions authored by Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) that would help prevent future oil spills and tighten the enforcement of federal offshore drilling policies were included the comprehensive oil spill response package considered by the U.S. House of Representatives today.
"For too long the "drill baby drill' ethos has directed our drilling policy; we need to restore balance and simple, common sense safety nets to such a risky process," said Polis. "We've worked hard in the House to address the problems leading up to the Gulf spill and end clear conflicts of interest in the Department of the Interior in order to prevent another offshore disaster."
H.R. 3534--the Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources (CLEAR) Act would officially reform the scandal and corruption laden Minerals Management Service, separating and removing a critical conflict of interest between the offices in charge of revenue and environmental/safety oversight. The CLEAR Act would reform the leasing and permitting processes, ensuring that worker safety and environmental health are no longer subverted by shortcuts in the environmental review or safety inspection process. It would also reform the offshore oil and gas drilling royalty system so that the American taxpayer is not shortchanged for resources they rightfully own.
This comprehensive bill was strengthened by Polis' provisions which would:
* Ensure that new reviews of offshore drilling include a cumulative impact on marine mammals and fisheries, not simply each drilling project. As it stands now, the law limits review to whatever drilling plans the applicant company happens to submit. This provision is part of his stand-alone legislation, H.R. 5863, the Oil Pollution Wildlife Protection Act. More information on H.R. 5863 is available at http://polis.house.gov/UploadedFiles/7-26_Oil_Pollution_Wildlife_Protection_Act_Fact_Sheet.pdf.
* Repeal the Deepwater and Deep Gas Royalty Relief from the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (Sec.344 and 345), ensuring that royalty rates are open and transparent through requiring greater public disclosure and written justifications, requiring that average international royalty rates be taken into consideration ending America's history as receiving the least in return for the resources it sells. This provision is part of his stand-alone legislation, H.R. 5661 the Oil Pollution Taxpayer and Environmental Protection Act, introduced last month. More information on H.R. 5661 is available at http://polis.house.gov/UploadedFiles/7-1_royaltybill_text.pdf.
"Today, the House took decisive action to hold guilty parties accountable for the Deepwater Horizon as well as ensure that a disaster of this magnitude does not happen again," said Polis. "My provisions included in this bill will help crackdown on some of the most egregious offenses committed by the big oil and our own government, leading to this spill. Until we can end our dangerous dependence on oil and transition to a clean energy economy, it is our responsibility to see that any drilling on American lands and waters is does as safely as possible."