House panel slows work on oil spill safeguards bill

The bill introduced this week would mandate new precautions at “high-risk” oil-and-gas wells, such as redundant failsafe mechanisms on blowout prevention systems and tougher standards for well designs.

Republicans used a subcommittee hearing on the bill Wednesday to accuse Democrats of ramming the new legislation through.

The Republicans also alleged the plan would stymie domestic energy production, pointing to citizen lawsuits to compel compliance that the bill would enable, as well as other provisions. Some centrist Democrats said they were also concerned about the bill’s scope.

Waxman and Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), who co-authored the bill and leads the Energy and Environment subcommittee, called the measure a needed response to safety gaps laid bare by the BP oil spill.