Congressman John Garamendi

Representing the 3rd District of California
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Congressman Garamendi Votes to Improve Oil Spill Prevention and Response as First Step in Responding to Dangers of Offshore Oil Drilling

July 22, 2010
Press Release

Garamendi Authors Two Amendments that Strengthen
Scientific Understanding and Response to Spills

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-Walnut Creek, CA), a member of the House Science and Technology Committee, voted for two bills that will improve the ability of the United States to prevent and respond to oil spills. These two pieces of legislation will enhance research for oil spill prevention and cleanup and provide the necessary research to ensure safer, cleaner oil and gas drilling technologies. Together, these bills represent a comprehensive research agenda to enhance U.S. preparedness for future oil spills.

"Deepwater platform drilling is inherently dangerous, but until we finally transition away from drilling, it's essential that we require the best safety and response standards available," Congressman Garamendi said. "These two bills are a good first step. The next steps include raising the ludicrous $75 million oil industry liability cap for spill cleanup, ending oil subsidies, further investing in clean technology, and stopping all new platform oil drilling."

Congressman Garamendi is the author of the West Coast Ocean Protection Act, a bill that would stop all new offshore platform drilling in federal waters off the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington. It presently has 37 cosponsors representing most of the West Coast. Identical companion legislation has been introduced in the Senate authored by all six West Coast Senators.

"I was also proud to introduce two amendments to the two oil spill cleanup bills. The first will give researchers and scientists the tools they need to develop the methodology and technology to track and measure oil spills. The second increases the coordination between agencies, so that they can better respond to oil spills," Garamendi added. I am glad that through my position on the Committee on Science and Technology, I had the opportunity to improve our ability to response to oil spills.”

H.R. 2693, The Oil Pollution Research and Development Reauthorization Act, ensures the ongoing development of new technologies and methods to prevent, recover, and respond to oil spills.  The bill also provides for robust oversight and accountability of the interagency research and development program.  Furthermore, this legislation sets up a more efficient federal management structure. More specifically, the bill updates and improves upon the Oil Pollution Act of 1990.

H.R. 5716, The Safer Oil and Natural Gas Drilling Technology Research and Development Act, will make oil and gas drilling safer by supporting research and development of technologies and practices for worker and environmental safety, as well as accident prevention and mitigation.  More specifically, the bill amends Section 999 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 which authorized the Secretary of Energy to establish an Ultra-Deepwater and Unconventional Onshore Natural Gas and Other Petroleum Resources research and development program.  Some of the areas that will be researched include enhanced well control and integrity, blowout prevention devices, secondary control systems for well shut-off, technologies for accident mitigation, decision-making and risk management, and equipment testing for extreme conditions.

"These two bills help to ensure the federal government, industry, and academia are all better equipped to prevent and respond in the future," said Science and Technology Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN).