What: All Issues : Labor Rights : Rights of Individuals in the Workplace : (H.R. 3534) On an amendment (to legislation which imposed new safety regulations on companies engaging in offshore oil drilling) that removed a moratorium on oil drilling in the Gulf Coast region of the United States for companies that meet safety standards issued by the Secretary of the Interior (2010 house Roll Call 511)
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(H.R. 3534) On an amendment (to legislation which imposed new safety regulations on companies engaging in offshore oil drilling) that removed a moratorium on oil drilling in the Gulf Coast region of the United States for companies that meet safety standards issued by the Secretary of the Interior
house Roll Call 511     Jul 30, 2010
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Win

This was a vote on an amendment (to legislation which imposed new safety regulations on companies engaging in offshore oil drilling) by Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-LA) that removed a moratorium on oil drilling in the Gulf Coast region of the United States for companies that meet safety standards issued by the Secretary of the Interior. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar had put the moratorium in place following the BP oil spill on April 20, 2010 that wreaked environmental havoc on the Gulf Coast states.

Melancon urged support for his amendment: “The tragedy [the BP oil spill]…opened our eyes to the need for tougher safety regulations for offshore drilling, to the need to strengthen the enforcement of both new and existing laws, and to the need to protect workers who report their companies' dangerous and even illegal practices to regulators so that we can stop another accident before it happens. Yet an indiscriminate blanket moratorium punishes the innocent along with the guilty for the actions and the poor judgment of one reckless company.”

Rep. Charlies Boustany (R-LA) argued the amendment did not really end the oil drilling moratorium, since Melancon’s proposal allowed the Interior Secretary to make the final decision on whether to grant drilling permits to companies who meet safety standards. (In other words, the secretary could choose to deny an oil company a permit even if they met the met the Interior Department’s safety standards.) Boustany argued: “I'm afraid that this amendment doesn't fully address the issue. It doesn't address the current moratorium, whereby we are hemorrhaging jobs.…the problem we have is …[that the amendment] continues to allow the Secretary this wide latitude … [with respect to] the normal permitting process. So we have a real problem with this….It's not the kind of policy that we need.”

The House agreed to Melancon’s amendment by a vote of 216-195. 213 Democrats – including a majority of progressives – and 3 Republicans voted “yea.” 156 Republicans and 39 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House agreed to an amendment (to legislation which imposed new safety regulations on companies engaging in offshore oil drilling) that removed a moratorium on oil drilling in the Gulf Coast region of the United States for companies that meet safety standards issued by the Secretary of the Interior.

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