August 16, 2010
Dear Ms. Cardone:
According to the Constitution, my job title is “Representative,” and I want to make sure that is my job description, as well. To do my job, I need to know the opinions of my constituents, and your input regarding legislative issues is crucial. Thank you for contacting me regarding domestic oil drilling and lifting bans on drilling at American sites, including on the outer continental shelf.
Oil continues to be our country’s primary energy resource; however, our nation has a unique opportunity to change our current dependence on oil and move towards a more economically and environmentally sustainable future. I believe that expanding our capability to harness wind, solar, natural gas, nuclear and biomass energy has a greater potential to solve our energy problems than does expanding domestic drilling
I am very concerned about the Gulf Coast oil spill that occurred on April 20, 2010. The impact of the spill on the environment and economy of communities in the Gulf Coast region, as well as on the entire nation, is devastating. I firmly believe that British Petroleum (BP) must be held accountable for their negligence and untimely response. The burden of responsibility to repair the region should not be placed on the American people, but on those who are directly responsible for the disaster.
Congress has already held several hearings to conduct a full inquiry to determine the cause of the accident, to clarify BP’s plan to stop the leak, and to ensure clean-up efforts are carried out quickly to protect coastal communities.
I am also a proud cosponsor of several bills that have been introduced regarding the Gulf Coast oil spill. H.R. 5503, the Securing Protections for the Injured from Limitations on Liability (SPILL) Act was introduced by Representative John Conyers (MI-14) and passed the House by a voice vote on July 1, 2010. The bill is currently pending before the Senate. If enacted, it would reform outdated maritime liability laws to ensure that the families of those killed or injured in the BP oil spill and in other similar tragedies are justly compensated for their losses.
Another bill Congress recently voted on was H.R. 3534, the Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources (CLEAR) Act. The bill was introduced by Representative Nick Rahall
(WV-3) and passed the House on July 30, 2010 by a vote of 209 to 193 with my support. If enacted, this legislation would help restore the Gulf Coast by increasing safety standards for offshore drilling companies and requiring they demonstrate the ability to respond to future spills. In addition, it would create strong new ethics standards for the oil and gas industries, increase the liability cap to $300 million and create a trust fund so that money raised from drilling in our oceans will also go toward protecting them.
Being a member of Congress means I have to consider tough decisions and votes every day. I am humbled by the responsibility of representing you, as well as some 650,000 other people. I want you to know that I will continue to advocate for government accountability and transparency as I fight to bring jobs to Upstate New York and turn our economy around. You may also want to visit my website at http://www.house.gov/maffei, where you can sign up for my e-newsletter, find out how I have voted on legislation and keep current with my latest congressional activities and policy statements.
Daniel B. Maffei
Member of Congress
- FACTBOX-US legislation spurred by oil spill (reuters.com)
- SPILL Act Spills Over: An Intended Consequence? (druganddevicelaw.blogspot.com)
- Legislative Watch June 29, 2010 (switchboard.nrdc.org)
- Gulf Coast can’t afford another disaster (Rep. Bill Cassidy) (thehill.com)
- House Votes to Lift Oil Spill Liability Cap (dailyfinance.com)
- Legislative Watch August 12, 2010 (switchboard.nrdc.org)
- Gloria Flora: No More Shortcuts: Congress Must Act to Make Drilling Safer (huffingtonpost.com)
- House passes oil-spill response bills (grist.org)