Washington, DC – As the U.S. House rushes sweeping oil spill legislation to the floor ahead of its August vacation, U.S. Congressman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) is vigorously fighting the measure and preparing amendments to strip the CLEAR Act of its most damaging provisions.
"The same Congress that barely knows the difference between oil and natural gas has suddenly become overnight experts on offshore drilling?", asks Brady. "At its heart this is another attempt to rush a sweeping bill through Congress that no one understands but whose consequences will drive American companies out of the Gulf, delay future drilling and kill tens of thousands of good paying American energy jobs, many of them in Texas."
"Coming on top of the devastating drilling moratorium, this legislation is a thinly disguised permanent roadblock to future Gulf energy production. If you long for higher fuel prices, more imported oil from nations that hate us and sweetheart deals for union bosses, you’ll love this bill."
A recent study by IHS Global Insight projects that 300,000 energy jobs in the Gulf and $147 billion in local, state and federal tax revenues would be lost if independent energy companies are driven from the Gulf – which Brady predicts will occur if the CLEAR Act becomes law.
Brady, who still awaits a response from the White House on his invitation to President Obama to travel to Houston to meet with energy workers and businesses whose livelihoods are threatened by the drilling moratorium, will offer amendments to strike the most onerous provisions which include:
– unlimited liability for economic damages which would force independent producers out of Gulf exploration;
– the so-called Build America union provision mandating U.S. flagged rigs, which would drive up exploration costs and drive existing rigs out of the Gulf;
– a new $34.2 billion energy tax on U.S. produced oil but not on foreign oil, increasing fuel costs while favoring foreign oil; and
– forcing companies to renegotiate legal existing royalty agreements which Clinton administration lawyers bungled.