The Senate is set to begin debate this afternoon on the Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act. The bill repeal five tax breaks that Congress has enacted over the years to encourage oil companies to drill off of America's shorelines, and it would close a loophole that U.S. oil companies have been using to disguise foreign royalty payments as taxes and deduct them from their domestic tax bill. All savings would be used to balance the budget and pay down the debt. Despite expert analysis showing that the bill would not increase gas prices and may actually increase domestic oil production, Republicans are planning to vote against it.Read Full Article
Oil prices may have had their biggest drop since 2008 yesterday, but that didn't stop the House from using the bubble to push forward their legislation to expand offshore oil drilling. By a vote of 266-149 yesterday, the House passed the "Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act," which would force the Secretary of the Interior to conduct lease sales on three drilling sites in the Gulf of Mexico and one of the coast of Virginia. The Obama Administration had put these leases on hold indefinitely following the BP spill in order to ensure that the lax regulatory environment that made that spill possible had been improved. So far, however, Congress has not passed a single piece of legislation to improve offshore drilling safetyRead Full Article
A day after President Obama said that he will help whip votes for passing climate change legislation in the Senate this year, Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid [D, NV] called on committee chairmen to prepare a strategy for passing a climate bill this summer. And he's calling for proposals to address the BP oil leak to be rolled into it.Read Full Article
Senate Democrats have tried three times to pass their bill to raise the liability cap on oil companies for the economic impact of spills, and three times Republicans objected -- once through Sen. Lisa Murkowski [R, AK] and twice through Sen. David Vitter [R, LA]. The Republicans call the Democrats' proposal for a $10 billion cap "arbitrary" and argue that it would be too high for all but the biggest oil companies to be involved in offshore drilling.
On May 25, after objecting to the Democrats' bill for the second time, Senator Vitter came out with his own alternative, called the Acceptance of Liability and Expedited Claims at Mississippi Canyon 252 Act. According to Vitter, his bill would completely remove the liability cap for economic damages on BP for the Deepwater Horizon spill and establish an expedited claims process.Read Full Article