Latest news from the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.
Rep. Ed Markey is a true environmental and energy leader. I don’t think I have seen anyone in government more focused on solving our fossil fuel and foreign oil addiction than him.
As an intro to the 4th of July weekend that has just passed, Markey and the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming that he is the Chairman of published an update on these issues.
With great comments on freedom, an update on proposed oil spill legislation, information on how Transocean “built” an island so that BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig could be located in the Marshall Islands and they could handpick their inspectors, as well as other good info and updates on the oil spill, I am re-posting the whole update that I was emailed by the Select Committee below:
Select Committee UPDATE
July 2, 2010
The Markey Memo
This weekend, as our nation celebrates Independence Day, we also are reminded of the freedom we have yet to achieve. Freedom from foreign oil.
The Select Committee has put together this short video featuring the powerful testimony from a veteran discussing the dangers our troops face as long as we remain addicted to foreign oil:
The House has moved aggressively to move to clean energy alternatives. When the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy & Security Act is combined with fuel economy and renewable fuel standards, America will save more than 5 million barrels of oil a day — more oil than we import from the Middle East and Venezuela combined.
OIL SPILL LEGISLATION
Yesterday, the House took action on behalf of the injured workers and 11 families who lost loved ones in the explosion of BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. The SPILL Act makes it possible for families to be compensated, changing the outdated Death on the High Seas Act (1920) and another law from 1851 that prevented these families from receiving full liability compensation.
Chairman Markey’s Energy & Environment Subcommittee also held a legislative hearing this week on the Blowout Preventer Act, designed to respond to the BP oil spill and prevent future oil well disasters by installing new, redundant safety measures. To watch the hearing, click here. To read the draft legislation, click here.
OIL COMPANY ISLAND VACATIONS from the LAW
It is outrageous how far oil companies will go to get around existing laws and regulations. Transocean registered the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Marshall Islands in order to be able to hand-pick their own inspectors. BP built a man-made island – or pile of gravel – three miles off the coast of Alaska in order to get a deepwater offshore drilling rig listed as “onshore.”
Chairman Markey has written an opinion piece addressing these oil company’s “island vacations” from regulation. Click here to read.
Vigorous investigation into BP continued this week, as Congress continued efforts to protect families, businesses and workers on the Gulf coast. Chairman Markey sent several letters of inquiry this week, including:
· Toxic FEMA Trailers
- Chairman Markey and Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-La.) wrote the U.S. General Services Administration yesterday asking for answers on the trailers that are being used to house some workers cleaning up the oil from the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The trailers, originally provided to Gulf residents following Hurricane Katrina, were found to have unhealthy levels of the carcinogen formaldehyde. The full letter can be found HERE.
· Hurricane Contingency Plans
- As Hurricane Alex moved through the Gulf of Mexico this week, disrupting spill response operations, Chairman Markey pointed out that BP NEVER MENTIONED the words “hurricane” or “tropical storm” in its response plan to a Gulf spill. The full letter can be found HERE. BP’s response plan can be found HERE.
· Need for Real Spill Response Plans from Oil Companies
- Following an Energy and Environment hearing last week in which the major oil companies admitted that their spill response plans were an “embarrassment.” Reps. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), and Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) sent letters to the major companies requesting more details on their plans. The full text of the letters can be found here.
· Video and Details of Cap Accident
- After an undersea accident last week forced BP to remove the containment cap over the gushing Blowout Preventer, Markey asked for video and details from the accident to be made public. The letter can be found HERE
· Exceeding Dispersant Directives
- Responding to increasing use of dispersants by BP over the past week, Markey wrote to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Coast Guard asking for an update on the analysis of the chemicals, and to respond to BP’s continued use of dispersants. Click HERE to see the letter to the EPA. Click HERE to see the letter to the Coast Guard
· Relief Well Prospects
- In an extensive inquiry letter sent to BP last Wednesday, Markey asked the company about the progress and design of the relief wells, which are now being drilled to shut down the still-spewing BP Macondo well. The letter focuses on several main lines of inquiry, and is available by clicking HERE.
Photo via Congressman Ed Markey