House Oil Bills Reset Stage for another Oil Spill
Ignoring lessons learned from the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster, the U.S. House of Representatives today passed the last of three oil company bills that continues a lax approach to risky oil company activities, according to the Southern Environmental Law Center. Together, the House bills limit agency oversight of oil companies’ drilling activity, mandate oil drilling and the sale of leases to oil companies, limit the public’s current options to challenge unsafe drilling plans in court, and open nearly all U.S. coastal areas to the risk of oil spills under the same broken system that led to the Gulf oil spill.
“In passing these three big oil bills, the House is encouraging unsafe drilling with inadequate oversight in sensitive areas from Maine to California to North Carolina,” said Nat Mund, legislative director, Southern Environmental Law Center. “The three bills continue the tradition of stacking the deck for oil companies that led to last year’s disaster in the Gulf.”
Today’s House action contrasts with the bipartisan National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling findings that systemic reform of the oil industry and stronger public oversight is needed to protect life and coasts from high-risk oil operations.
Recently, the Energy Information Administration projected that if the United States tripled production on the outer continental shelf, there would be no gas price impact until 2020 and only 3 cents to 5 cents a gallon in 2030.