Right before breaking for its six-week August recess, the House of Representatives voted to pass a bill that, if it became law, would raise the cost of energy and drive out energy producers from the Gulf of Mexico and other offshore sites.
From all that we hear, the Senate will have a difficult time moving on any “energy” bill this week, especially with any language to eliminate the liability cap on accidents from offshore activities. Unlimited liability would disadvantage smaller domestic energy producers.
The House-passed bill is H.R. 3534, the Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources Act. It passed by a vote of 209-193, with 30 members not voting, nine Democrats and 21 Republicans. Those 30 members could have defeated the bill, but plane reservations had been made.
The bill did include a good amendment sponsored by Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-LA) to lift the Obama Administration’s moratorium on deepwater drilling for rigs that meet safety requirements.
The National Association of Manufacturers issued a statement, “Manufacturers: House Energy Bill Is Setback for America.”
The American Petroleum Institute issued a critical statement from API President Jack Gerard after the vote, “API says House-passed spill bill anti-jobs, anti-consumer, anti-energy.” Excerpt:
The House bill passed today will kill jobs, threaten our fragile economic recovery and place our energy security at risk. This is an anti-jobs, anti-consumer and anti-energy bill. Instead of addressing the risks of offshore development by improving safety and establishing a robust system for covering the costs of possible future accidents, this bill effectively bans development and sends thousands of workers in offshore communities to the unemployment lines.
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