House Committee Approves Ban on BP Drilling Permits

The House Natural Resources Committee approved Rep. George Miller's (D-Calif) amendment to bar new offshore oil and gas drilling permits to BP "or any other company with a significant history of violating worker safety or environmental law."

The Miller amendment would bar a company from drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) if its record indicated five times the industry average for willful or repeat worker safety violations at their oil and gas facilities, if more than 10 fatalities occurred at any of its facilities, or if it incurred fines of $10 million or more under Clean Air or Water Act within the preceding 7 years.

Miller also introduced additional amendments aimed at strengthening worker safety and whistleblower protections for workers on the OCS.

"Actions have consequences," Miller said. "Companies with a history of being dangerous to workers or to the environment should not have the privilege of drilling off America's coastline for our natural resources. It is a privilege to be able to drill for the valuable resources that belong to the American people. And the American people have a right to insist that only the companies of the highest caliber and with the best records be permitted to drill off our shores for oil and gas."

Miller, the former chair of the House Natural Resources committee, offered his amendment to an offshore oil and gas reform measure authored by Committee Chairman Nick Rahall (D-WV).