Congressman Garamendi Votes for Two Oil Spill Response Bills, CLEAR Act Includes Garamendi’s Coast Guard Amendment
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman John Garamendi (D-Walnut Creek, CA) today voted for two bills that strengthen the House of Representatives’ response to the Gulf Coast oil disaster. The Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources Act (CLEAR Act) passed by a 209-193-1 vote, with only two Republicans in favor. The Offshore Oil and Gas Worker Whistleblower Protection Act passed by a 315-93 vote, with 92 Republicans in opposition.
The CLEAR Act sets new safety standards and requires a transition to the latest technologies available to make offshore oil drilling as safe as possible. It also removes the economic damage cap paid by oil companies to residents and small businesses affected by oil spills. The bill saves American taxpayers $5 billion over the next five years. An amendment successfully introduced by Congressman Garamendi makes sure that the Coast Guard has the resources necessary to be an effective first responder to future oil spills.
“Offshore oil drilling is inherently unsafe, and it’s in our economic and national security interests to transition away from it,” Congressman Garamendi said. “Until that day, we need the best safety precautions possible, and we must make sure that when spills occur, residents and small businesses are adequately compensated. The CLEAR Act accomplishes these important goals.”
“I’m pleased that an amendment I introduced will ensure that the Coast Guard has the resources it needs to be an effective first responder in future oil spills,” Garamendi added. “In future oil spills, we must make sure that the companies responsible for oil spills have independent watchdogs breathing down their necks on Minute 1.”
The Offshore Oil and Gas Worker Whistleblower Protection Act protects workers who alert state and federal authorities of violations or practices that endanger the public and workers.
“We must make sure that people who work in the offshore oil drilling industry feel free to alert appropriate authorities if something is amiss,” explained Rep. Garamendi. “We’ve learned in recent weeks that alarms on the Deepwater Horizon platform were at times shut off, putting at risk workers on the platform and the entire Gulf Coast. With this legislation, we can confidently tell platform workers, ‘If you see something, say something. We will protect you.’”
Congressman Garamendi is a nationally recognized leader in the fight to stop new platform drilling. He is the author of the West Coast Ocean Protection Act of 2010, a bill that would ban all new platform drilling in federal waters off the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington. It presently has 37 House cosponsors and is supported by all six West Coast Senators. As chair of the California State Lands Commission, then-Lieutenant Governor Garamendi led the successful fight to stop what would have been the first new offshore oil drilling lease in state waters in four decades.