Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has decided to wait until September to bring up legislation to address the costs of the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. The Clean Energy Jobs and Oil Company Accountability Act of 2010 (S. 3663) would remove the $75 million liability cap on offshore rigging companies and operators to ensure that BP would pay all costs associated with the spill. S. 3663 also would provide incentives for natural gas and electric vehicles, and would establish the HomeStar program to provide rebates and loans for home retrofits to improve energy efficiency. But with no Republicans willing to support the legislation and two Democrats, Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Senator Mark Begich (D-AK), opposing the elimination of the liability cap (they prefer raising the cap but not eliminating it), the legislation did not have enough votes for passage.
Some groups remain optimistic and hope that the delay will provide extra time to shape a stronger bill to include more renewable energy provisions. “It may be a good thing,”
said Senator Amy Klobuchar
(D-MN). “Maybe we can get some support for a renewable standard and do a little more. If there’s any hope of strengthening it and adding [a renewable electricity standard], that’ll only happen if we wait until September.” Others believe the delay will only make matters worse as partisan politics intensify. The House of Representatives passed an oil spill response bill, H.R. 3534, on July 30 by a vote of 209-193.