Today, Rep. Charlie Wilson voted against the CLEAR Act, the Consolidated Land, Energy and Aquatic Resources Act. The CLEAR Act was intended to create new safety measures and hold the oil industry fully responsible for the cleanup costs of the BP spill; however, Wilson voted "no" because it also allowed for EPA intrusion into oil and gas drilling and added an onerous tax onto each barrel of oil and BTU of natural gas captured.
After voting "no," Wilson released the following statement:
"Buried at the end of the bill is language that will force every American oil and gas well construction site to get a permit from the EPA for storm water runoff under the Clean Water Act. This is the same EPA that has made it harder and harder for our coal mines to get permits and now wants to regulate carbon by going around Congress to enact its own policies.
"Knowing that the 6th District drilled more than 588 wells between 2005 and 2009, I couldn't possibly vote to stop that progress by involving the EPA. I will not cede control of another of our natural resources to an agency that clearly isn't working with us to increase our energy output.
"In addition, the CLEAR Act will impose a new tax of $2 per barrel on oil and $0.20 per million BTU on natural gas captured on federal lands. This amounts to a new tax that can be passed on to consumers. During these tough economic times, the last thing we should be doing is raising energy taxes on our working families.
"Furthermore, it seems odd to me that we would raise the prices on domestic energy sources just as we are trying to reduce our reliance on foreign oil. That just doesn't make common sense.
"I totally agree that BP should be held responsible for the mess they've created in the Gulf of Mexico, but this bill just goes too far. I hope that the Senate preserves the important parts of this bill, but takes out things like unfair EPA jurisdiction and energy taxes that can hurt my district."