Congressman Garamendi Joins Colleagues to Safeguard Coastal Communities from Offshore Oil Drilling Disasters
Garamendi Authored Bill that Would Stop
All New Leases in Federal Waters on West Coast
WALNUT GROVE, CA – Congressman John Garamendi (D-Walnut Creek, CA) continued his leadership in demanding accountability from the oil industry in the wake of the Gulf Coast oil spill disaster by cosponsoring four bills that address the issue. Congressman Garamendi is also the author of the West Coast Ocean Protection Act of 2010, a bill with 28 co-sponsors, which would stop all new offshore oil leases in federal waters on the West Coast. The bill has identical companion legislation in the Senate, sponsored by all six West Coast Senators.
"The disaster in the Gulf Coast requires multiple responses. We must have a thorough investigation of what exactly went wrong; we must make sure that oil companies are held responsible for every penny of damage they cause; and we must do all we can to prevent new leases in federal waters,” Rep. Garamendi said. “As I continue working with my colleagues in the House and Senate to pass my legislation that would stop all new leases in federal waters on the West Coast, I am also proud to cosponsor a number of other bills that address the inherent problems of offshore oil drilling."
Garamendi added "Thank you to the sponsors of these bills. I look forward to continued cooperation with them to safeguard our coastal communities from ecological and economic devastation."
Congressman Garamendi has cosponsored the following bills:
1) H.R. 5241 by Representatives Lois Capps (CA-23) and Ed Markey (MA-7)
Summary: Establishes an independent, nonpartisan commission to investigate the causes and impact of, and evaluate and improve the response to, the explosion, fire, and loss of life on and sinking of the Mobile Drilling Unit Deepwater Horizon and the resulting uncontrolled release of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, and to ensure that a similar disaster is not repeated.
Senate Companion Bill: S. 3344, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (RI)
2) Big Oil Bailout Prevention Act of 2010, H.R. 5214, authored by Congressman Rush Holt (NJ-12)
Summary: H.R. 5214 will accomplish four main goals. First, under current law, there is a $75 million cap on liability for economic damages from an offshore oil well spill, including lost business revenues from fishing and tourism, natural resources damages, or lost local tax revenues. This bill would raise the liability cap from $75 million to $10 billion. Second, it would eliminate the $1 billion per incident cap on claims against the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund and allow community responders to access the fund for preparation and mitigation up front, rather than waiting for reimbursement later. Third, the bill would allow claimants to collect future revenues of the fund, with interest, if damages claims exceed the amount in the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, which is currently at $1.6 billion. Fourth, H.R. 5214 will eliminate the $500 million cap on natural resources damages.
Senate Companion bill: The Big Oil Bailout Prevention Liability Act of 2010, S. 3305, Sen. Menendez (NJ)
3) H.R. 5222 by Congressman Kendrick Meek (FL-17)
Summary: H.R. 5222 prevents the Department of Interior from moving ahead with its new five-year plan aimed at greatly expanding oil drilling into new areas along the Gulf of Mexico coast and along the Atlantic seaboard. The legislation also would call a halt to new and current test wells and other exploration activities, like seismic testing, until the cause of the Deepwater Horizon rig disaster is determined.
Senate Companion Bill: S. 3308, Sen. Bill Nelson (FL)
4) No New Drilling Act of 2010, H.R. 5248, by Congressman Frank Pallone (NJ-06)
Summary: Prohibits the leasing of any area of the outer Continental Shelf for the exploration, development, or production of oil, gas, any other mineral.