H.R. 5626, the "Blowout Prevention Act of 2010"
The Blowout Prevention Act (H.R. 5626), introduced in the wake of the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, establishes new federal regulatory requirements to prevent future spills from oil and gas wells. These new requirements apply to all oil and gas wells on the Outer Continental Shelf and to other high-risk wells that could cause extensive and widespread harm to public health and safety or the environment in the event of a blowout.
The Committee’s investigation of the April 2010 explosion on Deepwater Horizon rig contracted by BP to drill for oil revealed multiple flaws in BP’s blowout preventer (BOP), including emergency controls that did not activate, dead batteries, leaking hydraulic systems, and disconnected rams. To increase the reliability of this essential safety device, H.R. 5626 sets minimum standards for BOPs, including the requirement that the BOP have two sets of blind shear rams and redundant emergency backup control systems that can activate when communications from the rig are severed.
To ensure wells are drilled with the highest possible safety standards, the bill requires the installation of at least three barriers across each hydrocarbon flow path; the installation and pressure testing of lockdown devices; adequate centralization of casing; the circulation of drilling fluids prior to cementing; and cement bond logs for all cementing programs intended to provide a barrier to hydrocarbon flow. To ensure compliance with the new requirements, H.R. 5626 requires that BOPs, well designs, and cementing procedures be certified as safe by independent, third-party inspectors selected by the federal regulator, not the oil company.
A summary of H.R. 5626 is available here.
On June 30, 2010, the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment held a legislative hearing on H.R. 5626. On July 15, 2010, the Committee on Energy and Commerce met in open markup session to consider H.R. 5626 and ordered the bill favorably reported to the House, amended, by a roll call vote of 48 - 0 with 1 member voting “present.”
Key provisions of H.R. 5626 were incorporated into H.R. 3534, the Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources (CLEAR) Act of 2009, a bill reported by the House Committee on Natural Resources. On July 30, 2010, the House passed H.R. 3534, as amended, by a roll call vote of 209 - 193 with 1 member voting “present.”
No further action was taken on H.R. 5626 or H.R. 3534 during the 111th Congress.
Committee Approves Blowout Prevention Legislation (July 15, 2010)
Hearing on “The BP Oil Spill: Accounting for the Spilled Oil and Ensuring the Safety of Seafood from the Gulf," Subcommittee on Energy and Environment (August 19, 2010)
Aug 19, 2010
Hearing on “The BP Oil Spill and Gulf Coast Tourism: Assessing the Impact,” Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection (July 27, 2010)
Jul 27, 2010
Joint Hearing on "The Role of the Interior Department in the Deepwater Horizon Disaster," Subcommittees on Energy and Environment and Oversight and Investigations (July 20, 2010)
Jul 20, 2010
Legislative Hearing on H.R. 5626, the Blowout Prevention Act, Subcommittee on Energy and Environment (June 30, 2010)
Jun 30, 2010
Hearing on “The Role of BP in the Deepwater Horizon Explosion and Oil Spill," Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations (June 17, 2010)
Jun 17, 2010
Hearing on “HHS Actions to Identify and Address Health Effects of the BP Oil Spill,” Subcommittee on Health (June 16, 2010)
Jun 16, 2010
Hearing on “Drilling Down on America’s Energy Future: Safety, Security, and Clean Energy,” Subcommittee on Energy and Environment (June 15, 2010)
Jun 15, 2010
Hearing on “The BP Oil Spill: Human Exposure and Environmental Fate,” Subcommittee on Energy and Environment (June 10, 2010)
Jun 10, 2010
Field Hearing on “Local Impact of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill," Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations (June 7, 2010)
Jun 7, 2010
Hearing on "Combating the BP Oil Spill," Subcommittee on Energy and Environment (May 27, 2010)
May 27, 2010
Hearing on "Inquiry into the Deepwater Horizon Gulf Coast Oil Spill," Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations (May 12, 2010)
May 12, 2010
Committee Report on H.R. 5626, the "Blowout Prevention Act of 2010" (July 29, 2010)
Jul 29, 2010
Fact Sheet on H.R. 5626, the Blowout Prevention Act, as Reported by the Energy and Commerce Committee (July 15, 2010)
Jul 15, 2010
Section-by-Section Summary of H.R. 5626, the Blowout Prevention Act, as Reported by the Energy and Commerce Committee (July 15, 2010)
Jul 15, 2010
Bill Text of H.R. 5626, the Blowout Prevention Act of 2010, as Introduced (June 29, 2010)
Jun 29, 2010
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