On Thursday two powerful House committees approved separate drilling reform bills, raising the possibility that the House would meld and pass them soon.
A House Energy and Commerce Committee bill crafted by Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) got unanimous approval after Waxman softened provision that worried GOP, Gulf Coast, and oil patch lawmakers. That bill "would set new minimum standards for well designs, with requirements for redundant barriers and third-party certification of the blowout preventers."
The House Natural Resources Committee OKd a bill by Chairman Nick Rahall (D-WV) by a 27-21 party-line vote. That bill "would split the Interior Department's troubled Minerals Management Service into three entities so that leasing, oversight, and revenue-collection operations would be separate from each other." By doing so, it would ratify an action the Obama administration had already begun by executive fiat.