On Friday, the House of Representatives voted 209 to 193 to approve legislation related to the impacts of BP’s oil drilling disaster. Among other things, this bill:
• Lifts the $75 million liability cap for oil companies involved in accidents,
• Provides up to $1.2 billion in dedicated funding for coastal restoration projects paid for by BP penalties,
• Adds new protections for whistleblowers pointing out safety violations,
• Adds new safety requirements for blowout preventers,
• And stops companies with extremely poor safety records from obtaining new drilling leases.
This bill isn’t perfect. For example, unlike the Senate legislation, the House bill does not set-up a Gulf Citizens Advisory Council so that Gulf residents impacted by future oil and gas development can have input on energy development in the region. However, there are some good provisions in the House bill. Hopefully, our leaders can come together soon to pass a final bill that will make sure our communities are made whole, and that a catastrophe like BP’s drilling disaster never occurs again.
Here’s how some of our Gulf coast representatives voted:
Yay votes: Rep. Boyd (FL), Rep. Castor (FL), Rep. Melancon (LA), Rep. Taylor (MS)
Nay votes: Rep. Cao (LA), Rep. Bilirakis (FL), Rep. Bonner (AL), Rep. Boustany (LA), Rep. Brown-Waite (FL), Rep. Miller (FL), Rep. Paul (TX), Rep. Poe (TX), Rep. Ros-Lehtinen (FL), Rep. Scalise (LA)