Move to block BP from US drilling
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BP would be blocked from winning future drilling permits in the US because of its safety record under energy legislation passed on Friday by the House of Representatives.
But the measure is far from becoming law and is not under consideration by the Senate.
Passage of the so-called Miller amendment nevertheless puts pressure on BP, which has been under scrutiny by lawmakers, who are seeking to punish the company for its safety record.
The amendment was part of a broader drilling safety law that passed by 209 to 193. The legislation, known as the Clear Act, it requires new safety standards for offshore oil drilling, including independent certification of equipment; increased inspections and tougher penalties for safety violations. It would also ban regulators from issuing environmental waivers.
The bill includes a $2 per barrel conservation fee on every barrel of oil drilled on federal leases – which will expire in 2021 and is expected to raise $5.3bn in five years – and requires the chiefs of companies that drill to sign environmental and safety certifications.
The Senate is still considering its own package of reforms, but it is not considering any proposal to explicitly bar BP from future drilling contracts.
The controversial measure could, under the rules of the Congress, still get included in a final law during negotiations between the two congressional chambers, but most lobbyists said they think that is unlikely.
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