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House Committee Addresses BP Oil Spill, Increases LWCF Funding

On Thursday, July 15, the House Committee on Natural Resources passed H.R. 3534, the Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources (CLEAR) Act, which seeks to address the Deepwater Horizon oil-rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico and implement reforms in federal offshore and onshore oil and gas leasing programs.

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Specifically, the legislation would abolish the scandal-ridden Minerals Management Service and divide it into three separate entities: the Bureau of Energy and Resource Management (BERM), to manage leasing and permitting and conduct necessary environmental studies; the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), to conduct all inspections and investigations related to health, safety, and environmental regulations; and the Office of Natural Resource Revenue (ONRR), to collect all offshore and onshore oil, gas, and renewable energy-related revenues. The CLEAR Act also contains certain restrictions on “revolving door” activities, where safety inspectors move between industry and government with ease.

The measure also includes language to reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) through the year 2040 and authorizes full funding for the program at $900 million a year. However, the legislation does not address the proportion of funding that should be allotted for the State Assistance Program, which directly affects funding for community projects. The LWCF was established by Congress in 1964 to help state and local communities preserve important lands and acquire land for recreational trails and other facilities. The LWCF is also used for the protection of our national parks, forests, wildlife areas, and other national treasures. The program is funded through the receipts from offshore oil and gas leases.

ASLA is continuing to monitor legislative and administration action on cleanup and recovery efforts in the Gulf Region. If you or your firm has expertise in disaster recovery or ecosystem management and would like to volunteer for recovery efforts in the Gulf, please take a moment to complete the ASLA Experts Survey.

Comments August 10, 2010 2:47 PM
States need to get a fair share of the L&WCF revenue as envisioned in the 1964 organic act!
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