Thursday, August 5, 2010


Lynn Jenkins likes to say that the GOP never has a say on legislation. That just isn't so. Take the Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources Act of 2010 as an example. The House took roll call votes on  five amendments to that bill, H.R. 3534.  We first took a look at this bill on the August 3rd posting of this blog.

The first amendment, by Democratic Representative Nick Rahall of West Virginia , Lynn Jenkins voted no. That amendment clarified liability under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. It limited release of liability, requires redundancy in response plans, requires response plans for permit or license authorizing oil or gas drilling. Big Oil doesn't like this amendment. Lynn Jenkins voted no on roll call 507, the amendment was agreed to.

The second amendment by Wisconsin's Democratic Representative Ron Kind required that no less than 1.5 percent of the Land and Water Conservation Fund each year go toward securing recreational public access to Federal Lands under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of the Interior for hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreation. Lynn Jenkins, and all but one Member voted for Kind's amendment. The lone holdout was Wyoming Republican Cynthia Lummis. That was roll call 508.

The third amendment was offered by Democratic Representative Harry Teague of New Mexico. This change allows a group of companies to cooperate to meet financial responsibility requirements by pooling of resources or joint insurance coverage. This passed on roll call 509 by a margin of 399 - 8. Lynn Jenkins voted for the amendment.

The fourth amendment's sponsor was Minnesota's Democratic-Farm-Labor Party Representative Jim Oberstar. This amendment requires, following initial clean-up of a spill, that the National Resources Damages Act trustee give equal and full consideration to all statutorily prescribed natural resource damage remedies to ensure that acquisition of non-impacted land is considered an equal remedy and not given lower priority as is currently provided in statute. The vote on roll call 510 was 258 to 149. Lynn Jenkins voted no.

The fifth amendment to H.R. 3534 came from Louisiana's Democratic Representative Charlie Melancon and it seeks to end the federal moratorium on deepwater drilling. The moratorium would be prohibited from enforcement on those rigs that meet safety requirements set forth in NTL 05 and NTL 06. Oddly enough, Lynn Jenkins voted against ending the moratorium. The amendment was agreed to on roll call 511 by a vote of 216 to 195, Lynn Jenkins voted with the Republican leadership by voting no. Republicans are currently campaigning against President Obama on the issue the Administration's moratorium on Gulf drilling.  Here they voted against their campaign philosophy. Note: an "NTL" refers to Notice to Lessees and Operators of safety measures recommended by the Department of the Interior.

There were other amendments. Delaware's Republican Representative Michael Castle proposed an amendment to ensure there is no delay in the development of ocean renewable energy resources, including offshore wind, in the establishment of the new Bureau of Energy and Resource Management. This amendment was agreed to by a voice vote.

New Hampshire's Democratic Representative Carol Shea-Porter's amendment ensures that ethics guidelines required for certain Department of Interior employees are updated at least every three years. The amendment also ensures the best available technology for oil spill response and mitigation, and the availability and accessibility of that technology is part of the Offshore Technology Research and Risk Assessment Program. Finally, the amendment requires that operators annually certify that their response and exploration plans include the best available technology and its availability. This amendment was agreed to by a voice vote.

Virginia's Democratic Representative Gerry Connolly's amendment passed on a voice vote. That amendment is designed to prevent oil companies from shifting oil spill cleanup costs onto taxpayers by ensuring that Oil Pollution Act liabilities of an oil subsidiary will be inherited by the parent oil company in the event the subsidiary goes bankrupt and does not sell its assets. The amendment does not alter underlying liability provisions of OPA, and includes technical corrections from the Department of Justice.

Three amendments agreed to by voice vote. Five amendments agreed to by roll call. Lynn Jenkins voted for two of those and against the other three. By all accounts she's got to be happy with at least half of the amendments. So what came next?

Of course it was the Motion to Recommit with Instructions. That is the last dying gasp of hot air from the Republicans before the bill comes up for passage. This time it was roll call 512. Lynn Jenkins and the Party of No lost by a margin of 166 to 239.

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