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Public Statements

Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources Act of 2010

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. PELOSI. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the updated Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources Act, the CLEAR Act, and thank the gentleman for yielding time on this important subject. I am very proud of it and other legislation to ensure a continued strong response to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

In passing these bills today, we will uphold our commitment to America's families and businesses to rebuild the Gulf Coast and make families whole, and to ensure that the size of this spill and the scope of it never happen again.

The CLEAR Act responds to the BP oil spill not simply with criticism. In fact, we waited an amount of time so we could get the facts, make the judgment, and write legislation that is responsible and targeted.

Visionary that he is, Mr. Rahall 1 year ago began work on this legislation. We have benefited from the work that his committee, that of Energy and Commerce and the leadership of Chairman Waxman, and Transportation and Infrastructure under Mr. Oberstar, have done in preparation for this, as well as the work of Mr. Miller on Education and Labor.

This legislation is about safety, about establishing new safety standards--safety for the workers on the rigs, safety for those in the cleanup have been a priority for us in all of the legislation that has come to the floor in response to the spill.

It's about integrity. Integrity of the representations made by BP, whether it's about the effectiveness of the drilling, whether it's about the prevention of a blowout, or whether it's about the integrity of their representations about the integrity of the cleanup, what would happen if such a spill were to occur and do we have the technology to clean up. It's also about the integrity of the infrastructure, that the infrastructure would do what it was designed to do: drill, prevent blowouts, and, of course, respond to it.

So there's been a lack of integrity on both parts in terms of representations that were made and the integrity of infrastructure. This legislation addresses that.

It's about accountability. Reforming the Minerals Management Service is really a very important part of this legislation. Some of this was addressed by President Obama in having an Executive order to this effect or administrative policy to this effect. Now it is in statute. Very, very important. Because that accountability about who sets the standards, who makes sure that those standards are met is very, very important to us honoring our responsibility to the American people.

And it's about the families. And this always comes down to people who have suffered so much, by removing the cap on economic damages paid by oil companies to residents and small businesses affected by the oil spills.

The CLEAR Act is good for families, our environment, and the health of our natural resources in many ways. This week, we were informed that it was also good for our budget, saving taxpayers more than $5 billion over the next 5 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office, and up to $50 billion over the next 25 years, according to the Government Accounting Office.

This measure is just one component of a broader package of actions we are taking to hold BP accountable, support the families and businesses of the gulf coast, and prevent and prepare for future disasters, hopefully avoiding them.

Today, we will vote on the Offshore Oil and Gas Worker Whistleblower Protection Act, which was debated earlier, managed by Mr. Miller, to protect workers who put the people's interests first, speak up and inform State and Federal authorities of violations and practices that endanger the public and the workers.

In recent weeks, we have passed the Oil Pollution Research and Development Program Reauthorization Act to develop new methods and technologies to clean up oil spills. That was under the leadership of Chairman Bart Gordon of the Science and Technology Committee. He also presented the Safer Oil and Natural Gas Drilling Technology Research and Development Program to develop safer drilling technologies and prevent future oil spill disasters. One of them was the Gordon Act and one was the Woolsey Act.

The Spill Act. The Spill Act was one we passed maybe a month ago amending the Death on the High Seas Act to ensure fair compensation for the families of those killed or injured in the BP spill.

Many of us were humbled and honored to receive the families of those who lost their lives at the time of this explosion, at the time of this disaster. They came here. They talked about their family members that they had lost. They are the backbone of America. They worked hard. They played by the rules. They came here, really, using their suffering--and I say that in the best possible way--to help others. Their generosity of spirit insists that we turn this into the law but also to help those families and other families.

We passed legislation to give subpoena power to the President's Oil Spill Commission and permit the Coast Guard to obtain needed resources from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund to help with cleanup costs. Thank you, Mr. Cummings.

I would like, again, to acknowledge Chairman Nick Rahall, Jim Oberstar, Henry Waxman, Ed Markey, and George Miller for their leadership on this package of bills that we have before us today, and Mr. Gordon, Bart Gordon, for what he had done before.

In the wake of the BP oil spill, Members from both parties should agree that the current system is not working for the American people. As their representatives and their leaders, we must change course. We must do what we can to help the gulf recover and rebuild.

I urge all of my colleagues to vote ``aye'' on this critical oil spill response legislation.


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