Democrats Unveil Energy/Oil Spill Response Legislation

A proposed Senate energy bill “unveiled Tuesday would increase the liability of oil companies in the event of spills and provide incentives toward more energy efficient homes and greater use of vehicles powered by electricity and natural gas,” CNN reports.

The draft proposed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, is a compromise that has dropped major provisions in a House bill passed last year, including a cap on greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

Senate Democratic aides who gave a background briefing to reporters said Reid needed to scale back the energy bill to have any chance of getting Republican support that is necessary to pass the measure in the Senate.

According to the “Senate Democratic aides, the total cost of the bill is $15 billion, which would be offset by an increase in the per-barrel tax paid by oil companies to the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund that pays for spill clean-up and recovery costs.”

Other provisions in the proposal would increase government authority to oversee oil spill responses, provide grants for oil pollution research and assess an inspection fee to pay for a stronger inspection system of offshore oil rigs.

It also would fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund used to acquire important natural resources such as Cape Cod National Seashore for five years.

Unlike the “House bill, the Senate proposal lacks a cap-and-trade system, in which a price is set for greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide, and polluters can obtain and trade credits for emissions over a set threshold.”

You can find full legislative text of this bill, also known as the Clean Energy Jobs and Oil Company Accountability Act, here.

(credit image – instablogs images)

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