The House of Representatives passed legislation Friday which would lift the current $75 million liability cap for oil spills while imposing new safety standards for offshore drilling.
The Senate has yet to act, however, so the prospects for final oil spill and energy legislation are unclear.The House measure passed by a vote of 209 to 193.
Among other things, the bill would also impose stiffer penalties for oil rig safety violations while requiring independent certifications of key drilling equipment and demonstrations of a company's ability to respond to future rig blowouts or spills. It would also ban the practice of granting environmental waivers for drilling plans.
"We want to ensure that offshore drilling is done efficiently, while protecting both the environment and our number one natural resource -- the brave men and women who help power this great nation," Democratic Rep. Nick Rahall of West Virginia, who chairs the House Natural Resources Committee and sponsored the bill, said in a statement.