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House approves sweeping oil spill legislation

July 30, 2010|From a Times staff writer

In its most sweeping response to the gulf oil spill, the House on Friday approved legislation that would impose new environmental safeguards for offshore drilling, remove a liability cap for spill damages, and slap industry with a new tax to fund conservation projects nationwide.

The Democratic-drafted legislation passed on a largely party-line 209-193 vote, but faces trouble in the deeply divided Senate.

The measure would remove a $75-million liability cap on oil firms for economic damages caused by spills and hit energy producers with a new $2-per-barrel tax to fund land purchases for national parks, forests and wildlife refuges.

The House bill would also set new standards for blowout preventers, the safety device that failed on BP's blown-out well.

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