Nationwide energy reform should be part of any Gulf spill legislation
July 21, 2010
Last week, the House Natural Resources Committee approved the CLEAR Act, a bill that would vastly improve our current energy policies affecting federal lands and ocean areas.
Photo: A Gulf oil slick "burn-off"
Photo: The Delaware River watershed is threatened by irresponsible drilling
Credit: Tracy Carluccion
Now House Speaker Pelosi has a chance to bring these reforms to a vote as part of the oil spill cleanup legislation this week.
But she needs as little help. There are those who are telling her to keep the oil spill legislation focused only on the Gulf -- instead of letting the entire nation benefit from our lessons learned in the Gulf.
There are several key reforms that we need to keep in any oil spill legislation that is considered in the House:
- The Department of the Interior needs to improve its management of oil and gas leasing and permitting on land ( onshore ) and at sea ( offshore ) and ensure that the public receives the funds owed for drilling on federal lands.
- Oil and gas operations in the ocean and on land should use the best technology available to protect the public and the environment. We also need to ensure that these operations are covered by an insurance policy that protects the public from footing the bill in the event of a spill or other disaster.
- All oil and gas operations should be reviewed to determine their environmental impact before they are authorized. Current law allows certain drilling activities in the ocean and on land to be exempt from this environmental review.
- Oil and gas operations should disclose the chemicals they are using when they are drilling on federal lands.
- Renewable energy development and uranium mining on federal lands should be managed through a competitive leasing program, so the public receives a fair return for the use of our lands for energy production.
- Funding should be provided for land, water and ocean protection programs that can help mitigate the impacts of energy development.
The uranium and other onshore oil and gas provisions are most in need of your support to keep these provisions in the legislation that will be considered by the House.
For more information:
- Urge your Congressional Representative to tell Speaker Pelosi that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure -- pass the CLEAR Act.
- Read the EARTHWORKS press statement on the passage of the CLEAR Act out of committee.
- Read the summary, or the full text of the CLEAR Act.