Energy Insecurity: Liability Caps and Drilling Moratoriums

By July 30, 2010Briefly Legal, Energy

The House has just started debating the rule for H.R.3534, the Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources Act, i.e., the House “energy” bill. Or was that Waxman-Markey?

The National Association for Manufacturers just sent a “Key Vote” letter to the House, acknowledging that the bill has been made less economically damaging than earlier versions, but would still do too much harm to the jobs and American energy security.

From the “Key Vote” letter:

Manufacturers believe it is critically important to understand the causes of the Gulf of Mexico accident and its long-term environmental impacts before enacting policies that could make a serious problem much worse. While we appreciate efforts made earlier this week to improve H.R. 3534, NAM members continue to oppose the bill, as it would, in its current form, drive up energy costs, create uncertainties in the availability of supply and adversely affect U.S. jobs.

While there appears widespread agreement in the industry and on Capitol Hill that the $75 million liability cap needs to be updated, requiring an unattainable level of insurance coverage for domestic energy producers on the Outer Continental Shelf is not the solution. By eliminating the cap, H.R. 3534 would effectively retain the moratorium on offshore drilling for all but a handful of the world’s largest international companies, forcing the vast majority of American companies out of U.S. waters.

NAM’s key vote letters are developed and approved through a committee of representatives of manufacturing companies of all sizes. The NAM uses the votes to assess a member of Congress’ record on manufacturing issues.

On the House floor, Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) just characterized the upcoming debate: If you support the bill, you support the American people. If you oppose the bill, you’re an apologist for Big Oil.

That’s politics, not persuasion.

UPDATE (9:58 a.m.): Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) just read the NAM letter on the floor, noting that the NAM represents “jobs creators.” Thank you, Congressman.

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