1989 Scorecard Vote
The bill as introduced by Senator George Mitchell (D-ME) deals with two major voids in current oil spill legislation: the lack of an adequate compensation plan for oil spills, and the absence of a comprehensive oil spill response plan. If these programs had been in place, response to the Exxon Valdez disaster would have been quicker and more effective. S. 686 will provide for a $1 billion fund that will be made available for the assessment of damages to the environment and the creation of regional oil spill response teams. The $1 billion fund will come from a three cent per barrel tax on all domestic and imported oil.
The first important oil spill vote was on a motion by Senator Breaux (D-LA) to table and Adams (D-WA) amendment to S. 686. Senator Brock Adams' amendment would require double-hulls on all new tankers over 20,000 gross tons. The motion to table the Adams amendment was agreed to 51-48. August 3, 1989. No is the pro-environment vote. Environmentalists have pushed for the double-hull requirement as a means to help prevent spills like the disastrous Exxon Valdez spill, but have met strong opposition from oil companies who don't want to pay the additional costs to protect the environment.