The House of Representatives passes the CLEAR Act, taking a landmark step toward fixing our broken offshore drilling system

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Summary:

  • The U.S. House of Representatives today voted to pass H.R. 3534, the CLEAR Act, in response to the ongoing oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. 
  • The CLEAR Act reforms the structure of the offshore drilling oversight agency to avoid clear conflicts of interest; enhances the role of science, independent review, and other oversight agencies; and calls for the establishment of mandatory safety and environmental management standards.
  • The CLEAR Act fully funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund, helping to offset the inherent risk offshore drilling poses to our wildlife and important lands and waters.
  • The CLEAR Act also allows national wildlife refuges to collect and retain funds for damages from oil spills for the first time ever.
WASHINGTON (07/30/2010) -

The following is a statement from Jamie Rappaport Clark, executive vice president of Defenders of Wildlife:

“Today the House of Representatives voted to start reforming the offshore drilling industry and to protect and restore coastal communities, wetlands and wildlife and help prevent the next offshore oil disaster.

“The CLEAR Act overhauls the system that failed to prevent the BP disaster. And in securing critically needed funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the bill reinvests in our nation’s public lands and waters.

“When we authorize drilling off of America’s coasts, we allow the oil industry to hold the ecosystems and economies of entire regions in the palm of its hand. The CLEAR Act will help put the American people back in control. We now look to the Senate to pass their spill response bill next week to make these crucial reforms a reality.

“Not only have we surpassed 100 days of the Gulf oil disaster, in the past week there were major spills in Michigan, New Mexico and even beleaguered Louisiana. These are not isolated events – we need major reform of the whole offshore drilling industry and we need to wean ourselves off of dirty oil.”  

Background:

Summer of Oil Spills
The following oil spills occurred in the U.S. the week of July 25th – July 30th

  • To date, the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster has released over 92 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico – the worst oil spill in U.S. history.
  • Monday - Approximately one million gallons of oil spilled into the KalamazooRiver in Michigan this week from a burst pipe along a 1,900 mile pipeline bringing crude oil from Canada to the United States. Since 2002, the Department of Transportation has issued more than a dozen warnings and citations to the Canadian company that owns the pipeline.
  • Monday - Approximately 19,000-30,000 gallons of crude oil and diesel fuel spilled from two overturned tanker train cars into a dry wetland on publicly-owned Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Bisected by the Rio Grande, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge protects nearly 60,000 acres of floodplain and desert uplands, and serves as a haven for tens of thousands of migratory birds like snow geese and sandhill cranes.
  • Tuesday - An abandoned wellhead in Bayou St. Denis in coastal Louisiana was struck by a boat and has spouted a 100-foot plume of gas and oil into BaratariaBay. The 'orphaned' wellhead is owned by a now-bankrupt Texas company, Cedyco Corporation. BaratariaBay is an area already receiving extensive damage from oil coming ashore from the Deepwater Horizon spill.

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Links:

See how Defenders is responding to the Gulf oil disaster at www.defendersblog.org.

Contact(s):

Caitlin Leutwiler, (202) 772-3226, cleutwiler@defenders.org

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