Factbox: U.S. legislation spurred by oil spill

WASHINGTON (BestGrowthStock) – As oil continues to gush from the leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico, lawmakers have introduced more than 40 oil spill-related bills. Following are highlights of legislation circulating on the Hill.

DRILLING REGULATION Blowout Prevention Act of 2010 (H.R.5626) [ID:nN25205403] Sponsor: Henry Waxman, House Democrat from California Status: Subcommittee hearings held on June 30, markup rescheduled from July 1 to a later date

* Expands regulation of all “high-risk” wells, both offshore and onshore

* Allows citizen lawsuits against oil producers

* Prohibits drilling without blowout preventers

Outer Continental Shelf Reform Act of 2010 (S.3516) Sponsor: Jeff Bingaman, Senate Democrat from New Mexico; Lisa Murkowski, Senate Republican from Alaska Status: Approved by Senate Energy and Natural Resources

* Revamps the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act

* Broadens Interior Department’s role in ensuring environmental and safety standards are met before oil companies receive offshore drilling leases and permits

Stop Cozy Relationships with Big Oil Act of 2010 (S.3431) Sponsor: Robert Menendez, Senate Democrat from New Jersey Status: Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held hearings

* Prohibits employees of the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy from accepting gifts or owning stock in oil and gas companies

* Introduces a two-year gap before former BOE employees can work for an oil or gas company

* Imposes fines and possibility of prison sentences of up to 15 years on BOE workers who issue false statements

LIABILITY Oil Spill Accountability and Environmental Protection Act of 2010 (H.R.5629) Sponsor: James Oberstar, House Democrat from Minnesota Status: Referred on June 29 to committees for review

* Removes the liability cap for oil companies and makes them responsible for all cleanup costs and damages

* Would require all oil rigs operated within 200 miles off the U.S. coast be owned by American citizens

Securing Protections for the Injured from Limitations on Liability (SPILL) Act (H.R.5503) Sponsor: John Conyers, House Democrat from Michigan Status: House passed the bill by voice vote on July 1

* Removes financial liability cap for vessel owners, such as Transocean Ltd.

* Changes bankruptcy rules so companies cannot avoid damages payments

Big Oil Bailout Prevention Unlimited Liability Act of 2010 (S. 3472) Sponsor: Robert Menendez, Senate Democrat New Jersey Status: Referred to committee for review on June 9

* Removes liability cap of $75 million on oil spills

Acceptance of Liability and Expedited Claims at Mississippi Canyon 252 Act (S.3461) Sponsor: David Vitter, Senate Republican from Louisiana Status: Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held hearings

* Creates an Office of Deepwater Horizon Claims Compensation at the Department of the Interior to compensate all people and governmental entities affected by the oil spill

SPILL PREVENTION Stop Oil Spills (SOS) Act (H.R.5607) Sponsor: Edward Markey, House Democrat from Massachusetts Status: Referred on June 25 to committees for review

* Redirects $50 million a year from oil and gas royalty fees to a Department of Energy research grant program

* Funding offset by ending certain drilling subsidies

* Targets research into blowout preventers on wells, backup control systems, remotely operated vehicles that gather data in deep water, capturing oil that escapes from offshore wells

Better Oil Spill Response Plan Act of 2010 (H.R.5608) Sponsor: Edward Markey, House Democrat from Massachusetts Status: Referred on June 25 to two committees for review

* Requires oil companies to provide updated oil spill response plans

* Calls on the U.S. president to revise and update national response plans, including for worst-case scenarios

SPILL INVESTIGATION Subpoena power for national commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling (H.R.5481) Sponsor: Lois Capps, House Democrat from California Status: Passed by the House on June 23, and placed on Senate calendar

* Authorizes President Barack Obama’s oil spill investigation commission to subpoena witnesses and records with approval from the U.S. Attorney General

* Allows Attorney General to prosecute those disobeying subpoenas.

(Compiled by Alina Selyukh and Jasmin Melvin; Editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid)

Factbox: U.S. legislation spurred by oil spill