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The House of Representatives passed the Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources Act of 2010 [CLEAR Act (H.R. 3534) --its Gulf Spill/Energy bill response] [Latest Version] today by a vote of 209 to 193 with one voting present. The legislation was sponsored by House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick J. Rahall (D-WV), right, and directly responds to the crisis in the Gulf of Mexico, increases oil rig safety to prevent the next catastrophe, and reduces the federal deficit by $5.3 billion over the next five years.

Specific provisions of the CLEAR Act would:

Add teeth to the President's Commission on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill by giving the Commission subpoena power so they can get the answers they need to get to the bottom of what actually happened. The House passed similar legislation (H.R. 5481) on June 23, 2010.

Ensure that American taxpayers are not left on the hook to bail out oil companies by increasing the liability limits and the financial responsibility requirements on offshore facilities so responsible parties will cover 100 percent of the oil pollution cleanup costs and damages caused by spills they create.

Close royalty loopholes that allow companies to get away with shortchanging the American people, including provisions designed to do away with the ability for companies to pay zero royalties during times of high oil prices - consumers paying sky-high gas prices that fuel record profits should not face the indignity of receiving no royalty on the sale of the public's oil.

Make good on the promise that money obtained from the sale of the public's resources be used to protect and conserve our natural, historical, and recreational resources by providing mandatory full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF).

Create a new trust fund for the oceans so that funds raised from drilling in our oceans will also go toward protecting and improving our oceans. It would also establish a Gulf of Mexico Restoration Program to coordinate the efforts to return the Gulf to health following the oil rig explosion.

Establish new procedures for the use of chemical dispersants to ensure their safety to water quality and the environment. (House Natural Resources Committee)
Companion legislation in the Senate:

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) introduced oil spill/energy legislation on Tuesday. The ‘‘Clean Energy Jobs and Oil Company Accountability Act of 2010’’ includes four sections: 1) BP accountability, 2) Natural Gas Vehicle Act, 3) Home Star and Land/Water Conservation) and 4) increases the $2.7 billion liability cap of the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund to $5 billion and increases the amount that oil companies are required to pay into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund to 49 cents per barrel.