1989 Scorecard Vote
Not until the final weeks of the session did the House consider a comprehensive oil spill package, but the delay made it possible for environmentalists to lobby effectively for some strengthening amendments on the floor of the House. One of the major House fights was over the issue of state pre-emption. Environmentalists insist that states have the right to stronger oil spill laws than the federal laws. The oil and tanker industries sought to repeal good state oil spill laws in favor of a much weaker national law. Environmental groups lost this fight in the committees, so it came down to amendments on the floor of the House.
Rep. George Miller (D-CA) and Rep. Gerry Studds (D-MA) offered a package of amendments to H.R. 1465 to preserve state's rights to have stronger oil spill laws that will protect their citizens and environment. Rep. W.J. Tauzin (D-LA) offered an amendment to strike the provisions of the Miller-Studds amendment that prevented federal law from pre-empting state laws on oil spill liability, compensation, and clean-up. The Tauzin amendment was defeated 151-270. November 8, 1989. No is the pro-environment vote. The Miller package of amendments was subsequently adopted as part of the House Oil Spill bill.