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require consideration of other energy producing uses of the OCS,150 and provide for changes in OCS royalties and the use of royalties.151CLEAR did not pass the Senate in the last session of Congress. Moreover, the Congressional mid-term elections held in the fall of 2010 awarded control of the House of Representatives to the Republican Party and changed the political landscape in Washington, making it highly unlikely that CLEAR will be resurrected in the 2011 session of Congress.Notwithstanding that CLEAR almost certainly will not be revisited, Congress would be amiss in allowing the opportunity presented by the Macondo blowout to go by without taking some form of action. In particular, two critical provisions should be adopted. First, the $75 million cap on liability foroffshore spills should be lifted. In fact, while OPA 90 strengthened and clarified previously existing oilspill response laws in most respects, it weakened prior law on this particular point. Prior to OPA 90, there was no liability limit for spills or blowouts resulting from oil and gas activities on the Outer Continental Shelf. The unlimited liability was the legacy of DOI regulation put in place after the SantaBarbara blowout, and the change in prior law effected by OPA 90 was lamented in the comments of Senator Lieberman and others.152 A second critical point is the limit in the Oil Pollution Fund of $1 billion for any single incident, a limit that, as previously noted, the GAO has warned will likely be exceeded in the clean-up of the Macondo blowout. However, other provisions of CLEAR, such as those intended to remedy shortcomings in the Department of the Interior's regulatory oversight of offshore drilling, could be deemed unnecessary in light of the changes adopted by BOEMRE in October 2010. Some of CLEAR's provisions, such as those designed to punish BP and those requiring substantial new funding for rebuilding the Gulf states' shorelines, are certain to find little support in the changed political environment.IV. CONCLUDING OBSERVATIONSThe Macondo blowout tested the mechanisms put in place by OPA 90 to deal with a major oil spill of national significance. The existing regulatory structure appears for the most part to have functioned as it was intended, but the effectiveness of containment efforts was disappointing. A national response to the spill was organized expeditiously, government control of the response and clean up
was maintained, if not always appreciated by the public, the spill was eventually brought under control, and efforts to provide compensation for economic loss and environmental damage are underway. But the spill ran out of control for over three months, and public confidence in the industry