What: All Issues : Government Checks on Corporate Power : Oil & Gas Industry : (H.R. 3534) On an amendment (to legislation which imposed new safety regulations on companies engaging in offshore oil drilling) allowing the Natural Resources Damages Fund (a fund established to protect and restore natural resources on federal land) to be used for acquiring additional natural resources (meaning new federal land) as a remedy for environmental destruction in cases where the damaged resource is unlikely to be restored (2010 house Roll Call 510)
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(H.R. 3534) On an amendment (to legislation which imposed new safety regulations on companies engaging in offshore oil drilling) allowing the Natural Resources Damages Fund (a fund established to protect and restore natural resources on federal land) to be used for acquiring additional natural resources (meaning new federal land) as a remedy for environmental destruction in cases where the damaged resource is unlikely to be restored
house Roll Call 510     Jul 30, 2010
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Win

This was a vote on an amendment offered by Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-MN) on behalf of Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT, who wrote the amendment) allowing the Natural Resources Damages Fund (a fund established to protect and restore natural resources on federal land) to be used for acquiring additional natural resources (meaning new federal land) as a remedy for environmental destruction in cases where the damaged resource is unlikely to be restored. The amendment also provided that the Natural Resources Damages fund use remedies for environmental destruction that restore entire damaged ecosystems, rather than address damage in specific locations.

Oberstar urged support for the amendment: “The Himes amendment, which I offer on his behalf, emphasizes that acquisition of a natural equivalent resource can be an acceptable alternative to restoration or rehabilitation. Consistent with current law, the acquisition of an equivalent natural resource should be used only when restoration is likely to be…The second part of the amendment will ensure that natural resource damage assessments and implementation emphasize restoring the entire damaged ecosystem rather than dealing simply with specific, discrete segments thereof. The gulf coast is such a unique resource with countless species of fish, shellfish, marine life, wildlife, all integrated, and it really needs to be treated as an overall cohesive ecosystem.”

Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA) urged opposition to the amendment, arguing the Natural Resource Damages Fund should not be used for the acquisition of new federal land: “The fundamental goal of the Natural Resources Damages Act [the law that created the Natural Resources Damages Fund]… is to ensure the protection and restoration of all resources on federal lands….This includes restoration of damages caused by fires, invasive species, oil spills, ship groundings and vandalism. What this amendment attempts to do is to shift funds from the restoration of our national parks and national wildlife refuges to the purchase of… [new federal] land….I am always weary when I see we are taking another fund and using that to acquire even an extension of federal lands.”

The House agreed to the Himes/Oberstar amendment by a vote of 258-149. 243 Democrats and 15 Republicans voted “yea.” 144 Republicans and 5 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) allowing the Natural Resources Damages Fund to be used for acquiring additional natural resources as a remedy for environmental destruction in cases where the damaged resource is unlikely to be restored.

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