H.R. 3534 Amendments: Amendments to H.R. 3534 – The CLEAR (Cutting Loose Energy and American Resources) Act

H.R. 3534

Amendments to H.R. 3534 – The CLEAR (Cutting Loose Energy and American Resources) Act

Rep. Nick J. Rahall II

July 30, 2010 (111th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact

Floor Situation

H.R. 3534 is expected to be considered on the floor of the House on Friday, July 30, 2010, under a structured rule making the following amendments in order. The rule provides for one motion to recommit. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV) on September 8, 2009.

Bill Summary

1.)   Rep. Rahall (D-WV):   

  • Would strike "biomass" from the Renewable Energy Resource definition.

  • Would clarify that the Secretary may enter into cooperative education agreements with firms in establishing the National Oil and Gas Health and Safety Academy.

  • Would impose civil penalties on CEOs who certify to false information about a company's capability to prevent or contain an oil spill.

  • Would establish a Citizen’s Advisory Committee composed of non-energy industry individuals to assist the Gulf Coast Restoration Task Force in its work.

  • Would clarify that the Regional Assessment and Regional Strategic Plan created by the Great Lakes Regional Coordination Council shall include only renewable and not non-renewable energy resources.

  • Would replace the requirement for dispersant manufacturers to disclose their product's chemical formula with a requirement to disclose dispersant products' ingredients. 

  • Would require redundancy in accident and spill response plans as part of the permitting process under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.

  • Would authorize a study of the economic, safety, and environmental impacts of requiring a relief well be drilled in tandem with the drilling of some or all wells. 

  • Would include in the environmental study an analysis of the cumulative impact of drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf.  

  • Would require oil and gas companies to pay royalties on all oil that is discharged from a well, including spilled oil.

  • Would direct GAO to study the impact of assessing a fee on the processing of oil and gas leases and using the proceeds to fund the gathering of baseline environmental data necessary for the permitting process.

  • Would amend the liability provisions in the Oil Pollution Act to protect claimants from signing broad liability releases and clarify that the new cause of action for damages to human health does not supersede remedies under other federal law.

2.)   Rep. Castle (R-DE):  Would ensure there is no delay in the development of ocean renewable energy resources, including offshore wind, in the establishment of the new Bureau of Energy and Resource Management.

3.)   Reps. Kind (D-WI) et al:  Would require that no less than 1.5 percent of the Land and Water Conservation Fund annually go toward securing recreational public access to federal lands under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of the Interior for hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreation.

4.)   Rep. Shea-Porter (D-NH):  Would ensure that ethics guidelines required for certain Department of Interior employees are updated at least every three years.  Would ensure that the best available technology for oil spill response and mitigation, and the availability and accessibility of that technology is part of the Offshore Technology Research and Risk Assessment Program.  Would require that operators annually certify that their response and exploration plans include the best available technology and its availability.

5.)   Reps. Teague (D-NM) and Jackson Lee (D-TX):  Would allow a group of companies to cooperate to meet financial responsibility requirements by pooling of resources or joint insurance coverage.

6.)   Rep. Himes (D-CT):  Would require that a National Resources Damages Act trustee give equal and full consideration to all statutory natural resource damage remedies to ensure that acquisition of non-impacted land is considered an equal remedy and not given lower priority as is currently provided in statute.

7.)   Rep. Connolly (D-VA) et al:  Would ensure that Oil Pollution Act liabilities of an oil subsidiary will be inherited by the parent oil company in the event the subsidiary goes bankrupt and does not sell its assets.  This amendment would retroactively apply to any incident occurring after January 1, 2010.

8.)   Reps. Melancon (D-LA) and Childers (D-MS):  Would impose certain limits on the federal moratorium on deepwater drilling.  The moratorium would not apply to applications for permits to drill if the applicant has met safety requirements set forth in the National Notice to Leases dated June 8, 2010, and June 18, 2010.   The Secretary of Interior would have to make a decision on whether an applicant has complied within 30 days.

9.)   Rep. Melancon (D-LA):  Would create an additional civil penalty on Gulf Coast Oil Spills of more than 1 million barrels ($2 million per 1 million barrels) and would direct those funds toward Gulf Coast environmental restoration projects.