The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Senate Leaders Took Right Step to Shelve Flawed Spill Bill

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted August 3, 2010

Senate leaders took the right step to shelve a flawed spill bill, and we look forward to working with lawmakers to improve the bill so that American taxpayers, domestic jobs, the economy and our economic security are protected.

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.

Among the legislation's shortcoming is the elimination of the cap on oil spill liability. Unlimited liability for spill damages would force most oil and natural gas companies out of the Gulf of Mexico because they would be unable to purchase insurance. This would put thousands of American jobs at risk and reduce the energy supplies we get from the Gulf.

A robust, workable oil spill liability program - possibly including a mutual insurance element - is achievable and would cover the cost of a large spill without shifting huge costs to taxpayers.

The bill falls short again in seeking to impose a new layer of federal regulation on hydraulic fracturing. This technology is essential to developing America's vast reserves of shale gas, and states already do a good job regulating its use. Superfluous federal legislation would slow development of these vital domestic supplies of clean-burning energy and hundreds of thousands of new jobs associated its development.

We strongly believe a bill is possible that could enhance offshore safety and ensure payment of damages from possible future accidents without discouraging job creation or domestic energy development. We stand ready to work with the Senate towards this goal.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.