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On December 16, 1975, the committee held its first markup session for the presentation and discussion of a new draft of H.R. 6218.
Markup sessions of the committee were held on February 25 and 26, 1976, and both a majority and minority draft of H.R. 6218 were presented. Markup was continued on March 17, 18, 23, 24, 25, 30, and 31, 1976. Over 190 amendments were submitted for consideration by members of the committee.
Final markup sessions were held on April 6 and 7, 1976, and on April 13, 1976, and H.R. 6218 was reported out of committee.
As evidenced by the above discussion, the record of the Select Committee during the 94th Congress was one of substantial achievement. The committee engaged in 8 months of investigative work involving staff studies, visits to oil drilling sites, briefings, and hearings. The members heard from more than 300 witnesses and compiled a hearing record totaling more than 8,000 pages in more than 15 cities and in the North Sea. The investigative phase was followed by a markup period of 4 months.
The bill was reported to the House on May 4, 1976 (See House Report No. 94-1084). The bill was considered by the House on June 4, 11, 14, and 21, 1976. After 10 hours of debate and the consideration of some 80 amendments, H.R. 6218 overwhelmingly passed the House by a margin of 247-140.
The comparable Senate-passed bill (S. 521) was different than the House version and a resolution of the differences between the two bills required a conference. After some 25 Senate amendments to the House version were accepted by the conferees, the conference report was filed with the House and Senate on September 20, 1976 (House Report No. 94–1632).
Under the rules, the conference report had to be considered initially by the House. Debate on the report began on September 23, 1976, and continued on September 28th. After lengthy consideration, a motion was offered to recommit the report back to conference committee to delete one provision and make certain modifications in another. The motion to recommit was approved by a 198–194 vote.
This vote can be attributed to the threat of a veto on the part of the then administration, a scheduling logjam on the House floor, a threat of a Senate filibuster, and a national advertising campaign against the bill.
As Congress was scheduled to adjourn sine die within a few days and, because of the heavy schedule of other conference committees on which Senate Members of the OCS conference were obligated to participate, and the very real prospect of a filibuster on the Senate floor, there was not sufficient time for the reconsideration of the bill.30 Consequently, no further action was taken on S. 521.
The recommittal vote clearly did not represent the desire of Congress or the people not to have OCS reform. The committee and members were flooded with demands for OCS amendments—and prompt action in the 95th Congress. OCS reforms became a national issue showing the marked differences between the two Presidential candidates. The Democratic nominee called for OCS reforms such as those passed by both Houses and recommitted a few days prior to adjournment. He proposed support and thus passage of this legislation-as one of his two key energy-environment proposals—upon his election.
30 A conference, even if immediately convened, would not report until Wednesday, Sept. 29, 1976; if the House acted on Thursday, assuming the 3-day rule was waived, and de livered the report to the Senate that day, a filibuster would commence and thus a cloture petition would have to be filed which could not be considered until Saturday. If cloture was voted, there would still be 35 to 45 hours of debate-1 hour for each Senator is allowed after cloture-to follow. Yet both Houses would be adjourning on Saturday at the latest. Effectively, the motion to recommit killed the bill for the 94th Congress.
Almost as soon as the 95th Congress convened, the Outer Continental Shelf reform legislation as reported from the Conference on S. 521 was introduced in both Houses, becoming H.R. 1614, and S. 9. On January 11, 1977, H. Res. 97 reestablished the Ad Hoc Select Committee to complete its mandate to establish a policy for the management of oil and natural gas in the OCS, to protect the marine and coastal environment, to amend the OCS Lands Act, and for other purposes.
The committee held its first formal organizational meeting on February 24, 1977, when it approved the committee rules, budget, and staff. The committee vigorously began its work with a renewed sense of urgency and confidence. Perhaps the most significant change in the legislative environment was the inauguration of a new administration. The new Secretary of the Interior indicated, in a number of public statements, general support for revision of the 1953 OCS law.
Specifically, on January 17, 1977, in his nomination hearings, the new Secretary of Interior-designate, Governor Cecil D. Andrus stated, "The President-elect and myself have both said publicly, we support the *** amendments to the Outer Continental Shelf legislation. I agree they should have high priority.” 31
Governor Andrus also voiced support for greater environmental protection, the enforcement of due diligence to discourage speculation, greater State participation in the decisionmaking process, and that exploration and development occur promptly.
Hearings on H.R. 1614 commenced with the presentation of the favorable position of the Carter administration. On March 3, 1977, Secretary Andrus and John F. O'Leary, Administrator of FEA, presented testimony before the Select Committee. On March 7, 1977, Monte Canfield, Director, Energy and Minerals Division of the General Accounting Office briefed the committee on their new report on “Outer Continental Shelf Sale No. 35—Problems Selecting and Evaluating Lands to Lease.” Additional administration witnesses were heard on March 28, 1977 and February 4 and 5.
The second phase of the Select Committee hearings included representatives from oil and gas companies and associations, industryrelated companies, unions, environmentalists, State and local government officials, and citizens. The hearings ran all day May 9, 10, 11, and 12, 1977, and 45 witnesses representing all viewpoints were heard.
The final day of hearings was held on June 9, 1977, with Secretary Andrus, who restated the administration's position in general support of H.R. 1614, and addressed issues highlighted by over 4 months of hearings. Immediately after the hearing on June 9, the committee
32 U.S. Senate, "The Proposed Nomination of Governor Cecil D. Andrus to be Secretary of the Interior," Hearings before the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, 95th Cong, 1st sess., Report No. 93-4, Jan. 17 and 18, 1977.
approved a new staff draft of H.R. 1614, as a working document for mark
up. The new draft was designed to incorporate new and modified language in problem areas identified by the hearing process.
The official hearing record of the Select Committee comprises over 1,700 pages of testimony this session alone. This effort was supplemented by countless hours of preparation by staff and members, including meetings and discussions with the Interior Department, and other agencies, with industry, environmental groups, union officials, staffs of various committees and others. The activities of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee were monitored, and coordination with the staffs effected. In addition, the committee members and staff have participated in numerous OCS-related meetings in other forums.
The committee markup of H.R. 1614 was extensive. Sessions were held on June 30, July 12, 20, 21, 22, 25, 26, and 27, 1977. Over 75 primary amendments were considered, and scores of amendments thereto. After much deliberation, the bill was ordered reported on July 27 by a vote of 11 to 8.
V. NEED FOR H.R. 1614
On January 23, 1974, President Nixon announced that he had directed the Secretary of the Interior to increase the amount of acreage on the Outer Continental Shelf (“OCS”) to be leased to private industry in 1975 to ten million acres.
In one year, President Nixon proposed, the country was to lease an amount of offshore territory almost equal to the amount leased since the OCS program began in October 1954. The proposal was part of an overall strategy to deal with the Nation's energy problems.
The authority for this proposal was the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, adopted in 1953. This Act provides for the jurisdiction of the United States over the submerged lands of Outer Continental Shelf and authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to lease these lands for oil and gas production.
The 10-million-acre lease proposal crystalized growing concern on the part of many in Congress and elsewhere about the open-ended authority granted in the 23-year-old legislation. The existing law gives little guidance to the Secretary of the Interior on how he is to go about leasing OCS lands.
The country's increased reliance on petroleum recovered from underneath the ocean, made more apparent by the temporary oil embargo from the Middle East beginning in the fall of 1973, had already triggered a number of examinations of the manner in which offshore resources were explored and recovered in this country. Some of these studies were underway at the time of President Nixon's dramatic proposal; others were triggered by it.
Numerous studies, both past and present, have pointed to either deficiencies in the current methods of OCS leasing, or the opportunity for instituting improved methods. One such study, by the National Science Foundation in 1974, entitled “An Economic Analysis of Alternate OCS Petroleum Leasing Policies," found:
The historical background * * * documents the limited development of leasing policy over the past 2 decades in sharp contrast with the dramatic changes in economic conditions
and social objectives. Specifically, past leasing strategies
Continental Shelf. In addition,
A. RECORD OF THE COMMITTEE
Congress responded to this concern by conducting its own research and by legislative action. In 1974, the Senate passed a comprehensive revision of the 1953 Act, but the action came too late in the session for the House to take
the matter. Again in 1975, the Senate adopted an OCS Act, S. 521.
The House of Representatives also responded. So as to avoid committee jurisdictional disputes and thus avoid delays, the House established the first ad hoc committee, composed of members of several standing committees, permitted under the new rules adopted by the 94th Congress. Speaker Carl Albert named Congressman John M. Murphy of New York to be chairman of the Ad Hoc Select Committee on Outer Continental Shelf and charged the Committee with the responsibility of reporting to the House a revision of the original Act governing OCS operations.
The Ad Hoc Select Committee on the Outer Continental Shelf built up a substantial public record in the 94th Congress. It added to that record during the 95th Congress with witnesses representing all points of view—including environmentalists, Federal, State and local officials, representatives from energy industries, large and small, and their suppliers and subcontractors, and ordinary citizens. It then weighed the evidence carefully. The Ad Hoc Committee became convinced that the OCS Lands Act had to be revised.32
Early in the committee's review of the OCS Act of 1953, during the 94th Congress, Senator Henry Jackson, Chairman of the then Senate Interior Committee and now Chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, and chief sponsor of the Senate OCS legislation, testified before the committee about the basic need for new legislation.
In discussing the “vitally needed changes in the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act of 1953," Senator Jackson stated that this 1953 law "did not provide clear policy guidance to govern (OCS) leasing. The bill has never been amended, though times and conditions have changed drastically in the intervening years. These developments (improved technology, decline of onshore production, increased importance of OCS resources, increased environmental and coastal awareness, new intergovernmental cooperation efforts, and accelerated lease schedules) emphasize the need for legislation that reflects the changes of the last 20 years and the growing importance of this great national resource.”
82 Because of the extensive record (5 volumes) made by the Committee during the 94th Congress, which became the basis for legislative action in 1976, much of the information relied on by the committee in reviewing H.R. 1614 as introduced, in amending it, in markup, and finally in reporting it to the House, came from that record. The record of the 95th Congress, of course, was also substantial and relied upon. Both will be referred to in this discussion.
In California, location of the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill, and one of the main sites included in the accelerated leasing program, Joe Bodovitz, Executive Director of the California Coastal Zone Conservation Commission, testified at the hearings during the 94th Congress:
Several deficiencies in the present OCS leasing procedures under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act have contributed to the unhappy circumstance that in 2 months the Department of the Interior plans to make an irrevocable commitment to an indeterminate amount of oil and gas development offshore California, without having adequately assessed the extent to which such development will be consistent with coastal planning goals. [He identified three major deficiencies in the present system as inadequate information for Federal and State governments on the offshore resources, the need to better control environmental impact and the need to insure that offshore leasing is conducted in a manner consistent with
State coastal planning efforts.] The hopes of citizens and local and state governmental officials for new laws were aptly reflected by Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley. Speaking for a group of municipal officials in California, and reflecting the feelings of many of his colleagues around the country, Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley told the Committee in 1975:
It is my hope that you will act quickly in the matter of reforming and amending the OCS Lands Act to bring it up to date, to bring it into the 1970's, instead of operating on a document that is certainly outdated *** [The OCS Lands Act of 1953] was written at a time when oil was regarded as cheap and virtually unlimited. Enormous administrative power was centered in one man—the Secretary of the Interior-to maximize efficiency of resource development *** Revision
of the outdated act is essential ***. These concerns were restated and reemphasized this year. In submissions and testimony, representatives of the States of New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Delaware, California, Alaska, and Connecticut, all called for OČS reforms. Offshore development can and should occur, they all said, but only if modern legislation governs activities.
Similarly, local government representatives this year, in submissions and testimony from, for example, Ocean City, Md., Santa Barbara, Calif., the National Association of Counties, and Nassau County, emphasized their fears of uncontrolled exploitation and the negative impacts of such exploitation.
The original legislation providing essentially an open-ended grant of authority to the Secretary of the Interior to proceed with leasing on the Outer Continental Shelf, was based on what was, in 1954, an unproven technology, and on expectations that offshore production would be a relatively small supplement to the continued reliance on production from onshore fields.
This situation has changed dramatically. Now, according to U.S. Geological Survey estimates, fully one-third of the Nation's discoverable and producible oil reserves are offshore, as are 22 percent of our