Both House and Senate Oil Spill Measures Take Needed Steps, Should Be Enacted Into Law Quickly

The clock is ticking, but the Senate shouldn’t delay: Senate lawmakers should pass oil spill legislation this week before leaving town for the August recess.

The BP disaster in the Gulf has highlighted not only the high price tag attached to our addiction to oil but also failings in the way the government deals with oil companies. Bills introduced in both the House of Representatives (H.R. 3543) and Senate (S. 3663) would tackle the latter and throw in some green energy provisions as well. Ultimately, the provisions in both bills should be included in a final law.

Both measures would rightly abolish the existing $75 million cap for oil companies’ liability for spills and restructure the agency formerly knows as the Minerals Management Service. The Senate bill would provide tax credits to promote natural gas-fueled vehicles and plug-in electric vehicles, and would provide money for the “Home Star” program to encourage people to retrofit their homes with more efficient appliances.

The House bill, which was approved last week, would reform the royalty system to ensure oil companies pay their fair share to taxpayers for use of public land, set new safety standards for blowout preventers and establish a conservation fee that would be used for land and water conservation.

Neither measure is a substitute for climate change legislation, which is desperately needed. We must wean ourselves off fossil fuels.

But the provisions in both these bills are needed. We urge the Senate to pass its bill and for both chambers to then pass reconciled legislation containing the measures in both the House and Senate bills.

The oil industry’s dominance in Congress is one of the worst examples of corporate interests hijacking the legislative process. These reforms are a good start in reining in this industry. In the future, Congress should not wait for a catastrophic event to enact reforms and policies to protect people and hold polluting industries accountable.

Comments

  • Harvey Eder Ex. Dir. Public Solar Power Coalition

    Tyson Slocum,Dir,of Public Citizens Energy Program
    Re:Oil Spill Measures Should Pass Now 8/3/10. The article says “the Senate Bill would provide tax credits to promote natural gas-fueled vehicles and plug in electric vehicles” ref S3663 and continues in the next paragraph “we must wean ourselves off fossil-fuels”
    See http;//www.nrel.gov/docs/fy06osti.36355.pdf p. 22fig 14 methane emisssions and fig 15 co2 emissions . Natural Gas has at least 50% to 70% the co2 emissions of oil/diesal plus gas/methane/ch4 is increased from 60-110%+ over 3 years/ as an engine gets older and emitts as least as much green house gas co2e or equilivant to several times as much 200% plus over the life of a vehicle non combusted plus 2-3% released wellhead to tank, a truck or buses life is about 19 years and ch4 methane/natural gas has at least 20 times the global warming impact as co2.This study is Emissions Testing of Washington Metropolitian Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Natural Gas and Diesel Transit Buses Dec. 2005, DOE NREL. Ref- CARB Ca Air Resources Board
    Dr. Cody Livingston phone conversation 2008&9/10. It’s the only study found that looks at what happens to methane/ch4 emissions over the life/time of a vehicle. You can look at arthimetic or exponential increases.
    In pp.2 you write “we must wean ourselves off fossil fuels”. Agreeded. We must do it now and omit tax credits for natural gas fueled vehicles, and use our limited dollars for solar powered vehicles/ electric not oil or gas or coal or nuclear. This pro gas position is prevelent in D.C. even amoung the liberals like CAP etc.. This is dangerous and pro oil and gas and their big money which Citizens Energy Program says you are against. Positions like this stated in your article must be reversed. Pro solar energy is needed now.

    Solarly, Harvey Eder Ex. Dir. PSPC Public Solar Power Coalition
    harveyederpspc@yahoo.com
    (310)3932589

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