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LoBiondo's "Delaware River Protection Act" Unanimously Passed by the House Transportation Committee

Location: Washington, DC

LoBiondo's "Delaware River Protection Act" Unanimously Passed by the House Transportation Committee

Bill Would Help Prevent Future Oil Spills

Legislation to help prevent oil spills in America's waterways is one step closer to becoming law, according to Rep. Frank A. LoBiondo (NJ-2), Chairman of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee. Rep. LoBiondo's bill, H.R. 1412, the "Delaware River Protection Act," was unanimously approved today by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

"The overwhelming support for this legislation shows that it is not only very important to our region, but to the nation as well," said Chairman LoBiondo. "This bill will help ensure that the ecologically significant areas in New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania are protected from future oil spills, while allowing the vital commerce of the Delaware River and the nation to continue."

Rep. LoBiondo was joined last month by Reps. Jim Saxton (NJ-3), Mike Castle (DE-at large), Rob Andrews (NJ-1) and Allyson Schwartz (PA-13) in introducing this bi-partisan legislation in an effort to help prevent future oil spills on the Delaware River and Bay and the nation's waterways. H.R.1412 was developed in response to the November 2004 accident involving the Athos I, which released 265,000 gallons of oil into the Delaware River and the surrounding areas.

The "Delaware River Protection Act" contains several important components that reflect the findings from a recent oil spill hearing in January, including:

* Encouraging the use of double hull tankers by increasing the liability limits on single hull tankers under the Oil Pollution Act;
* Requiring mandatory reporting of objects that are lost overboard to the Coast Guard for immediate recovery;
* Updating the oil spill contingency plan for Delaware River and Bay to ensure the protection of environmentally sensitive
habitats and locations;
* Creating a new committee to report to Congress on ways to improve oil spill response and prevention; and,
* Establishing a pilot project on the Delaware River and Bay to test techniques to recover submerged oil.

"While there is still more work to be done, it is essential that we make our waterways safer, and protect our sensitive ecological habitats in and around the Delaware River and Bay," Rep. LoBiondo added.

The legislation now goes to the full House of Representatives for its consideration.

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