Congressman Phil Hare (D-IL) today voted for the Consolidated Land, Energy and Aquatic Resources (CLEAR) Act which would hold BP and responsible parties accountable for the mess they made in the Gulf and protect our coastal communities and water from future oil spills.
The CLEAR Act will:
* Implement strong new safety measures
* Hold BP and the oil industry fully responsible for the cleanup costs and recovery after spills -- removing the $75 million cap on economic damages to be paid by Big Oil to families and small businesses
* Strengthen oversight of oil drilling by dismantling the current scandal ridden agency in charge
* Restore the Gulf Coast and protect local residents
* Provide taxpayer protections to make oil companies pay their fair share for drilling on public land
* Protect offshore oil and gas workers who report violations or practices that endanger the public to state and federal government authorities
"I have said from day one that BP--not taxpayers--must be on the hook for the economic and environmental damage they inflicted on the Gulf Coast," Hare said. "This legislation holds BP accountable while adopting reforms that will help prevent future disasters from occurring."
The bill included two amendments authored by Hare. The first directs the Government Accountability Office, no later than three years after enactment, to report to Congress on the effect of the Interior Department reforms included in the CLEAR Act. The second clarifies that oil industry representatives are not permitted to train Interior Department regulators on how to do their jobs.
"The lack of oversight at the Department of the Interior and the collusion between industry and regulators played a significant role in this spill," Hare said. "We need to clean up the Gulf, but also the government. My amendments will help ensure that the strong reforms this bill includes are effective and industry representatives can no longer have influence over the officials tasked with regulating them."