Rahall Leads Passage of Safety Standards for Offshore Drilling -- Capito Votes with BP

Kudos to WV Rep. Nick Rahall (D) for being the lead sponsor on H.R. 3534, the Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources Act (CLEAR Act). This bill is the boldest offshore drilling safety legislation to pass the House of Representatives in over 30 years. The legislation passed the House of Representatives 209 - 193 earlier this evening.

The legislation is a comprehensive response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. It removes the existing $75 million cap on oil companies’ liability in the case of future spills. It also prohibits BP and companies with bad safety records from getting new offshore permits until they meet new safety requirements.

In addition, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates the legislation will reduce the federal deficit by $5.3 BILLION over the next 5 years. (Link to .pdf)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi commended Rep. Rahall for his leadership on the issue calling him a "visionary" for beginning work on issues of offshore drilling safety more than a year ago, well before the gulf oil spill.

Rep. Rahall commented, "While we may not know the exact cause of the incident, we clearly know what contributed to it. A culture of cozy relationships that had regulators interviewing for jobs on the same rigs they were supposed to be inspecting."

Thanks to Rep. Rahall's leadership, the foxes won't be guarding the hen house when it comes to keeping workers safe and preventing future offshore drilling disasters.

Unfortunately, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R) chose to vote as a rubber stamp for Minority Leader John Boehner and aligned herself with corrupt corporations like BP to oppose the legislation.

Apparently, Capito feels that oil companies shouldn't pay for their own messes, regulators should look the other way when companies put profit before safety, and there's no need to trim $5.3 billion from the deficit. Instead, we should just "drill baby drill."

Thankfully, Rep. Rahall was able to garner the support needed to pass his landmark legislation. Hopefully, Senators Rockefeller and Goodwin will be similarly successful in getting it passed in the Senate.

Cross posted at WVaBlue.com.