Factbox: Legislation spurred by oil spill

(Reuters) – Following the Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, U.S. lawmakers have introduced more than 80 bills related to the oil spill.

With the runaway well now capped and Congress nearing the August recess, many of the bills have yet to see action. Following are highlights of the legislation that has moved out of committees.


Outer Continental Shelf Reform Act of 2010 (S.3516)

Sponsor: Jeff Bingaman, Senate Democrat from New Mexico; Lisa Murkowski, Senate Republican from Alaska; Byron Dorgan, Senate Democrat from North Dakota; Debbie Stabenow, Senate Democrat from Michigan

Status: Approved by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee

* Revamps the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act

* Broadens Interior Department’s role in ensuring environmental and safety standards are met before oil companies receive offshore drilling leases and permits

Blowout Prevention Act of 2010 (H.R.5626)

Sponsor: Henry Waxman, House Democrat from California; Edward Markey, House Democrat from Massachusetts; Bart Stupak, House Democrat from Michigan

Status: Approved by House Committee on Energy and Commerce

* Expands regulation of all “high-risk” wells, both offshore and onshore

* Allows citizen lawsuits against oil producers

* Prohibits drilling without blowout preventers

Consolidated Land, Energy and Aquatic Resources (CLEAR) Act of 2009 (H.R. 3534)

Sponsor: Nick Rahall, House Democrat from Virginia

Status: Approved by House Committee on Natural Resources

* Prohibits oil companies with poor safety records from getting new offshore drilling leases

* Permits and leases would be denied for federal law violations such as worker deaths, large fines.

* Introduces specific guidelines to use of oil and gas royalties.


Big Oil Bailout Prevention Liability Act (S.3305)

Sponsor: Robert Menendez, Senate Democrat from New Jersey; 23 co-sponsors

Status: Approved by Senate Environment and Public Works Committee

* Removes liability cap for offshore drilling making oil companies responsible for all cleanup costs and damages

* Requires detailed oil spill response plans and predictions of worst-case scenario impacts from oil companies

Oil Spill Accountability and Environmental Protection Act of 2010 (H.R.5629)

Sponsor: James Oberstar, House Democrat from Minnesota

Status: Approved by House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure

* Removes the financial liability cap for oil companies

* Would require all oil rigs operated within 200 miles off the U.S. coast be owned by American citizens


Department of Interior Research and Technologies for Oil Spill Prevention and Response Act (S. 3515)

Sponsor: Jeanne Shaheen, Senate Democrat from New Hampshire; Jeff Bingaman, Senate Democrat from New Mexico; Mark Udall, Senate Democrat from Colorado

Status: Approved by Senate Environment and Public Works Committee

* Requires the Interior Department to carry out in-depth research on oil spill prevention and response technology

* Directs Environmental Protection Agency to conduct a pilot program with demonstration in deep water

* Provides the program with $25 million from a trust fund


Subpoena power for national commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling (H.R.5481)

Sponsor: Lois Capps, House Democrat from California

Status: Approved by the House of Representatives

* Authorizes President Barack Obama’s oil spill investigation commission to subpoena witnesses and records with approval from the U.S. Attorney General

* Allows Attorney General to prosecute those disobeying subpoenas.

(Compiled by Alina Selyukh; Editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid)