It gets mom and pop out of the oil drilling business, and that is a good thing.
While undeveloped countries might have kids slaving over the kitchen fire melting electronics to mine them for lead – in a supposedly developed nation like this, competence should be a sine qua non in the drilling business, for all of our sakes. It is amazing that just about anyone is allowed to drill – even if they have absolutely no way to clean up a mess like just happened in the Gulf.
While it is no climate – clean energy bill as hoped, the spill bill is not bad for a straight environmental pollution prevention bill that cracks down on the lax oil and gas drilling practices that led to the catastrophic spill in the Gulf, and ongoing drilling disasters on land.
Here’s some provisions:
Remove the liability caps for owners and operators of offshore facilities;
Establish procedures for processing damage claims;
Strengthen emergency response planning obligations on regulated industries and establish expedited damage claim procedures;
Expand and direct funding to oil spill prevention and response research, as well a funding to support land and water conservation projects and programs;
Reorganize federal oversight of offshore drilling to separate leasing, environmental and safety oversight, and royalty collection efforts;
Increase criminal penalties for violations of oil spill prevention requirements;
Override recent case law limiting punitive damages under maritime law; and
Upgrade federal capabilities to respond to future spills, as well as the ongoing Gulf Spill cleanup;
And in natural gas provisions, it reverses the Haliburton Amendment that allowed the fracking industry to pollute waterways with impunity. It would finally allow states to require some disclosure of substances used in hydraulic fracturing efforts associated with natural gas recovery.
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