US Senate Democrats move spill bill debate beyond Labor Day

Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, Aug. 4 -- US Senate consideration of a broad energy bill that includes offshore oil-spill provisions will not take place until after Labor Day, Democratic leaders announced on Aug. 3. Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) blamed Republicans, who immediately responded that the bill was temporarily shelved because it could not attract enough support from key Democrats.

“He didn’t pull his bill because of Republican opposition. He pulled it because his fellow Democrats were deserting him, planning to vote against it, and supported the concepts of the Republican bill,” said Lisa Murkowski (R-Alas.), the Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s ranking minority member.

There were indications that support from Reid’s own party eroded not only because of oil spill provisions that producing-state Democrats considered unrealistic, but also because the broader bill did not include requirements for electric utilities to generate more power from renewable sources to address global climate change.

Oil and gas trade association and other business leaders welcomed the delay. “The bill proposed by the Democratic leadership is not an effective or reasoned response to the spill. Instead it will cost American jobs, threaten our fragile economic recovery and jeopardize our energy security,” said American Petroleum Institute Pres. Jack N. Gerard.

Its flaws include elimination of an offshore liability limit, similar to one in the bill which the US House narrowly approved on July 30, and a provision which would require producers to disclose chemical ingredients used in hydraulic fracturing, a crucial process in natural gas production from onshore shale formations, he indicated.

‘Anti-industry momentum’
“This is a good, very important development,” said Independent Petroleum Association of America Pres. Barry Russell. “The delay gives industry and our allies more time to fight these contentious proposals and halts the fast anti-industry momentum sweeping through Washington since the Gulf of Mexico accident.”

Russell noted that provisions in the Senate bill that IPAA opposes, in addition to the two mentioned by API’s Gerard, include proposed amendments to the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, which the independent producers’ group thinks would leave any administration decision open to challenge; denial of leases to producers based on safety and while relying on arbitrary and vague requirements that are open to broad interpretation and legal challenges; and increasing the current 30-day review for offshore drilling permit applications to at least 90 days or 180 days at the Interior secretary’s discretion.

Karen A. Harbert, president of the Institute for 21st Century Energy at the US Chamber of Commerce, said that voters who expected Congress to propose proper oversight of offshore exploration and production in the wake of the gulf oil spill got legislation from House and Senate leaders which essentially would shut down industry.

“It is not surprising, then, that ultimately the Senate proposal collapsed and the bill was pulled from consideration,” Harbert said, adding, “Coupled with the administration’s blanket moratorium on oil and gas production, it is clear that America is not getting the leadership it needs on energy.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

Related Articles

Jewell names Maryland energy administrator BOEM’s new director

12/18/2014 US Interior Sec. Sally Jewell appointed Abigail Ross Hopper, who currently directs the Maryland Energy Administration, as the new director of the U...

Russia’s Turkey pipeline deal possibly may keep door to Europe ajar

12/18/2014 Russia’s memorandum of understanding to build a natural gas pipeline to Turkey after canceling its South Stream project could help keep the door op...

Moody’s: Mid-term elections dim federal fracing regulation prospects

12/18/2014 Results of 2014’s congressional elections have reduced the prospect of the federal government enacting its own hydraulic fracturing regulations, Mo...

Apache awarded Western Australia offshore permit

12/18/2014 A day after reporting its planned divestment of Western Australian and Canadian assets to Woodside Petroleum Ltd., Apache Corp. has been awarded a ...

Thirty-one House Democrats ask Jewell to bar leasing in Arctic Ocean

12/18/2014 US Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) and 30 other House Democrats urged US Interior Sec. Sally Jewell to reject the second supplemental environmental i...

Obama makes Alaska’s Bristol Bay off-limits for oil, gas activity

12/17/2014 US President Barack Obama placed Bristol Bay off-limits for future oil and gas leasing, extending a temporary withdrawal he imposed in 2010 that wa...

Severance tax would backfire, Pennsylvania association leaders warn

12/17/2014 Enacting a severance tax aimed at Pennsylvania’s unconventional natural gas activity would substantially harm the commonwealth beyond the industry ...

New York state moves to ban hydraulic fracturing

12/17/2014 High-volume hydraulic fracturing will be banned in the state of New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration announced Dec. 17, citing health risks...

BPC report examines 40 possible options to reform RFS

12/16/2014 The Bipartisan Policy Center issued a report outlining 40 possible options for reforming the federal Renewable Fuels Standard in an effort to move ...

White Papers

AVEVA NET Accesses and Manages the Digital Asset

Global demand for new process plants, power plants and infrastructure is increasing steadily with the ...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Approach for the Digital Asset

To meet the requirements for leaner project execution and more efficient operations while transferring...
Sponsored by

Diversification - the technology aspects

In tough times, businesses seek to diversify into adjacent markets or to apply their skills and resour...
Sponsored by

Engineering & Design for Lean Construction

Modern marketing rhetoric claims that, in order to cut out expensive costs and reduce risks during the...
Sponsored by

Object Lessons - Why control of engineering design at the object level is essential for efficient project execution

Whatever the task, there is usually only one way to do it right and many more to do it wrong. In the c...
Sponsored by

Plant Design for Lean Construction - at your fingertips

One area which can provide improvements to the adoption of Lean principles is the application of mobil...
Sponsored by

How to Keep Your Mud System Vibrator Hose from Getting Hammered to Death

To prevent the vibrating hoses on your oilfield mud circulation systems from failing, you must examine...
Sponsored by

Duty of Care

Good corporate social responsibility means implementing effective workplace health and safety measures...
Sponsored by

Available Webcasts


On Demand

Optimizing your asset management practices to mitigate the effects of a down market

Thu, Dec 11, 2014

The oil and gas market is in constant flux, and as the price of BOE (Barrel of Oil Equivalent) goes down it is increasingly important to optimize your asset management strategy to stay afloat.  Attend this webinar to learn how developing a solid asset management plan can help your company mitigate costs in any market.

register:WEBCAST


Parylene Conformal Coatings for the Oil & Gas Industry

Thu, Nov 20, 2014

In this concise 30-minute webinar, participants have an opportunity to learn more about how Parylene coatings are applied, their features, and the value they add to devices and components.

register:WEBCAST


Utilizing Predictive Analytics to Optimize Productivity in Oil & Gas Operations

Tue, Nov 18, 2014

Join IBM on Tuesday, November 18 @ 1pm CST to explore how Predictive Analytics can help your organization maximize productivity, operational performance & associated processes to drive enterprise wide productivity and profitability.

register:WEBCAST


US HYDROCARBON EXPORTS Part 3 — LNG

Fri, Nov 14, 2014

US LNG Exports, the third in a trilogy of webcasts focusing on the broad topic of US Hydrocarbon Exports.

A discussion of the problems and potential for the export of US-produced liquefied natural gas.

These and other topics will be discussed, with the latest thoughts on U.S. LNG export policy.

register:WEBCAST


Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected