>Yesterday afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid released a summary (PDF) of what's still being called the "energy bill," though it includes none of the grand, carbon-slashing measures that phrase called to mind just weeks ago. Instead, the Clean Energy Jobs and Oil Company Accountability Act is a modest, contained package that gives a curt nod to climate advocates but focuses on responding to the BP oil spill.
Reid may or may not accept amendments, but for now, here's what the bill looks like:
1. Removes oil spill liability cap. The most contentious part of the bill would eliminate the $75 million cap the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 placed on oil companies whose offshore facilities experienced spills. Different House and Senate measures have proposed raising this cap, scaling it to companies' earnings, giving the president discretion to determine the cap, and eliminating it altogether. This last option, the harshest of all, would apply to BP retroactively. This section of the bill is modeled off Sen. Robert Mendendez's Big Oil Bailout Prevention Liability Act. It is likely to spark the most opposition from Republicans.
In order to expand the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund (essentially spill insurance for big oil producers), companies will now have to contribute 49 cents for every barrel of oil they produce.