Energy & Environment

Simple answer to 'who should pay?' (Rep. Jay Inslee)

"Who should pay?"

It's a straightforward question. Yet last week, Republican Minority Leader John Boehner said both BP and the federal government were responsible, and both should pay. He knew he really stepped in it - because he couldn't retreat from that statement fast enough.


An energy policy for grown-ups (Sen. Alexander)

The tragic Gulf oil spill has produced overreaction ("end offshore drilling"), demagoguery ("Obama's Katrina") and bad policy recommendations ("We must generate 20% of our electricity from windmills"). None of this helps clean up and move forward. If we want both clean energy and a high standard of living, here are 10 steps for thoughtful grown-ups:


American wind turbines sound like freedom

The sound that American wind turbines produce as their giant, breeze-propelled blades whip around is a distinctive: Neh-neh-neh-neh-neh-neh.

The anticipation is that those energy-generating, whirling arms would create a whooshing sound. And maybe they do in some countries. But here, in America, they echo the almost melodic taunt of a schoolyard victor -- Neh-neh-neh-neh-neh-neh: You can’t get me.


Waive the Jones Act to assist the oil spill cleanup (Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson)

Senator Hutchinson delivered the below speech on the Senate floor last night and introduced the bill to waive the Jones Act to assist the oil spill clean up this morning. The bill is cosponsored by Sens. LeMieux (R-Fla.) and Cornyn (R-Texas).

The Jones Act was put in place in 1920 to ensure that the United States was able to maintain a fleet of merchant ships. So it was really for protection - flagged carriers against competition from foreign carriers that might undercut our ability to have profitable merchant ships. The Jones Act is currently preventing resources, however, from being used in the massive cleanup in the Gulf of Mexico. This legislation that has been on the books since 1920 is hindering foreign vessels from assisting Gulf communities, as they work to prevent oil from reaching their shores. Currently, foreign vessels need to obtain a Jones Act waiver from the federal government in order to help with the cleanup efforts. For many of the vessels wishing to respond, this request needs to be reviewed by three separate agencies: The coast guard, the maritime administration and customs and border protection. That is three layers of bureaucracy when time is of the essence. During this crisis, we need to cut through the red tape we must get all available assets on the scene as quickly as possible. I think everyone agrees – and other countries have offered their services; they've offered to help. There are European countries that also drill in the oceans and waters on their shores, and they've offered to send ships to help to try to absorb the oil and skim it off. There are volunteers waiting with the right equipment, and they're willing to come to our aid.


BP needs to come up with answers to our questions (Rep. John D. Dingell)

Yesterday’s hearing with BP CEO Tony Hayward was not surprising, but yet still a terrible disappointment. Chairmen Stupak and Waxman sent Mr. Hayward a letter at the beginning of the week laying out the several issues found during the investigation and asked that he be prepared to answer questions about those issues. Sadly, Mr. Hayward obfuscated and evaded the Committee’s questions to the point where Congressman Stearns asked if at the very least, Mr. Hayward could confirm that the day was Thursday. This was one of the few firm answers Mr. Hayward gave during his nearly eight hours testifying before the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.


Reverse the drilling moratorium in the Gulf (Rep. Pete Olson)

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill was a tragedy for eleven families, and an environmental disaster for the entire Gulf Coast region.  The impacts are far-reaching, affecting industries across the spectrum.  Make no mistake, BP has the ultimate responsibility to clean up the disaster in the Gulf and needs to make things right with those affected by this spill.  I fully support all efforts to ensure they fairly compensate the industries and region that have been impacted by this disaster.


Values are at the core of ad critiquing Sen. Graham

Our television ad calling into question Senator Graham’s credibility as an arbiter on the best and most realistic path forward on energy policy has been getting a lot of attention recently. A number of people are asking why a group that ran a major statewide radio campaign in South Carolina praising Sen. Graham a few months ago would chose to run this ad now. 


White House agreement with BP to set aside $20 billion for the Gulf recovery is a good first step (Sen. Byron Dorgan)

President Obama’s decision to push to establish a $20 billion escrow account, funded by BP is the right decision. BP’s agreement to put $20 billion in such account is a good first step. While BP has pledged to pay for clean up and recovery costs, that pledge needed to be made real and legally binding. As we saw during and after the Exxon Valdez disaster, it’s very easy for oil companies to make pledges to pay for clean up and recovery and later to not follow through on promises and challenge claims in the courts. We must make sure that doesn’t happen here, and that taxpayers do not wind up with the bill for the catastrophe BP’s operations have caused. The agreement announced today is a good first step toward that end.


Help preserve jobs in the Gulf Coast

Last month when President Obama imposed a six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, his decision threatened the livelihood of tens of thousands of workers in the Gulf States. Today, CEA is pleased to see strong bipartisan support on Capitol Hill to lift the six-month offshore drilling moratorium including, the introduction of critical legislation in the House and Senate to this effect.  


Hold BP accountable for oil spill and recovery efforts (Rep. Joe Courtney)

Author Michael Kinsley once observed that “a gaffe is when a politician tells the truth.” The Republican Leader, Mr. Boehner, proved this point the other day when he was asked point blank whether he agrees with the Chamber of Commerce that the government should pitch in to pay for BP’s oil spill.