Today, U.S. Senator David Vitter (R-La.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship (SBC), announced the U.S. Senate passed an amendment as part of the Energy Policy Modernization Act, which would require additional oversight and accountability within the Department of Interior’s (DOI) Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE). Vitter’s amendment will protect small businesses from the economic severity of DOI’s recently finalized well control rule.

“Louisiana, with our abundant natural resources, has led the nation in growing our domestic energy industry, creating thousands of jobs, supporting entire communities, and bolstering our coastal restoration efforts along the way. As the oil and gas industry struggles to recover, our top priority must be balancing the highest, necessary safety standards while also keeping the Obama Administration in line as they attempt to expand their authority in their ongoing anti-energy and anti-jobs crusade,” said Vitter. “My amendment reaches that balance, and it’s important we included this in the final energy bill.”

Last week, DOI issued its final well-control rule on offshore oil and gas drilling. In BSEE’s initial economy analysis, they found that the well control rule will have a significant economic impact on small entities under the Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Act (SBRFA). As SBC Chariman, Vitter has been working to ensure that federal agencies, including BSEE, fully comply with SBRFA so that small entities are not unduly burdened. One of Vitter’s amendments requires the BSEE to consult with the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Advocacy thoroughly assess how the Department of Interior’s final well control rule will economically impact small entities throughout the oil and gas supply chain within one year of the rule going into effect. Typically, the small business impact review would take longer than a year and does not require the SBA Advocacy Office to participate. Click here to read more.

In September 2015, Vitter testified before the House Natural Resources Committee on the impacts of federal policies on energy production and economic growth in the Gulf of Mexico. Click here to read more.