CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
S. 3473 is expected to be considered on the floor of the House on Thursday, June 10, 2010, under suspension of the rules. The legislation was introduced by Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) on June 9, 2010, and passed the Senate on the same day by unanimous consent.
S. 3473 would amend the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 to authorize the Coast Guard to (without further appropriation) obtain one or more advances from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, up to a maximum of $100 million for each advance.
Within seven days of each advance the Coast Guard would have to notify Congress of the amount advanced and the facts and circumstances necessitating the advance.
The authority provided to the Coast Guard in this legislation would apply only in the case of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 authorized the use of the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund. Current law limits advances from the Fund to a total of $150 million in any fiscal year and requires the Coast Guard to notify Congress within 30 days of advances. The Coast Guard says it expects to run out of money to respond to the Deepwater Horizon spill as early as next week because it will have exhausted its advance from the Fund under current law. Additionally, under current law the total amount spent from the Fund for response to the Deepwater Horizon spill cannot exceed a total of $1 billion, and $500 million for natural resource damages.
On April 20, 2010, 11 workers died after an explosion at the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Since that explosion, a major oil spill into the Gulf has occurred and is ongoing.
The Congressional Budget Office has not prepared a cost estimate for S. 3473 as of press time.