On Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass H.R. 3534, the CLEAR Act, in response to the ongoing oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. The CLEAR Act reforms the structure of the offshore drilling oversight agency to avoid clear conflicts of interest; enhances the role of science, independent review, and other oversight agencies; and calls for the establishment of mandatory safety and environmental management standards. The CLEAR Act also fully funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund, helping to offset the inherent risk offshore drilling poses to our wildlife and important lands and waters, and allows national wildlife refuges to collect and retain funds for damages from oil spills for the first time ever.
Jamie Rappaport Clark, executive vice president of Defenders of Wildlife said that with the passage, “The House of Representatives voted to start reforming the offshore drilling industry and to protect and restore coastal communities, wetlands and wildlife and help prevent the next offshore oil disaster.
“The CLEAR Act overhauls the system that failed to prevent the BP disaster. And in securing critically needed funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the bill reinvests in our nation’s public lands and waters.
“When we authorize drilling off of America’s coasts, we allow the oil industry to hold the ecosystems and economies of entire regions in the palm of its hand. The CLEAR Act will help put the American people back in control. We now look to the Senate to pass their spill response bill next week to make these crucial reforms a reality.”
The legislation rides on the tail of a rocky week for the oil and gas drilling industry – with additional oil spills in Michigan, New Mexico and beleaguered Louisiana. Click here to read the full statement and learn more about the “Summer of Oil Spills.”