Today, the House passed two bills in response to the disastrous BP oil spill. The first bill, the Oil Pollution Research and Development Program Reauthorization (H.R. 2693), will strengthen research, development, and demonstration of innovative tools, methods, and technologies for oil spill cleanup. The fact that we are responding to the BP oil spill with basically the same technology that we used with the Exxon Valdez spill over 20 years ago pretty much says it all.
The second bill, the Safer Oil and Natural Gas Drilling Technology Research and Development Program (H.R. 5716), will launch a new R&D effort in new technologies to make deepwater drilling safer and prevent future oil spill disasters by shifting much of the focus of a deepwater drilling R&D program from technologies to increase production to technologies for accident prevention, worker safety, and environmental impact mitigation.
Speaker Pelosi on passage:
Today, the House voted for two key measures to more effectively prevent and respond to accidents like the BP oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
The first bill is designed to develop new methods and technologies to clean up oil spills. This effort could not be more urgent — especially considering the response to the BP spill has relied on the same methods and technologies used for the Exxon Valdez cleanup 21 years ago.
The second piece of legislation will help us develop safer drilling technologies and prevent an accident such as the BP disaster from ever happening again. And it will foster aggressive research and development to develop better blowout preventers, new accident prevention practices, and improved worker safety measures.
In the wake of the disastrous BP oil spill, it is the responsibility of this Congress to act to hold BP accountable, support the families and businesses of the Gulf, and prepare for unforeseen disasters. That's why the House has passed measures to ensure fair compensation to the families of those killed or injured in the BP spill. That's why we have worked to ensure aid to the Gulf, tough oversight for BP, and ample resources for the response to the spill. And next week, our efforts will continue with a package of legislation that strengthens safety standards, reforms the Minerals Management Service, and removes the cap on economic damages paid to residents and small businesses by oil companies after oil spills.