Murkowski Blocks Bill to Hike Industry Liability for Oil Spills

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Thursday, May 13, 2010 at 4:01 pm

Today on Capitol Hill, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) took to the chamber floor and asked for unanimous consent to pass his much-discussed bill to raise the liability ceiling — from $75 million to $10 billion – on economic damages resulting from an oil spill. The proposal is a response to questions about just how much of the spill’s economic damage BP is poised to pay in the wake of last month’s Deepwater Horizon blast in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Menedez bill didn’t get very far. Instead, Sen. Lisa Murkowki (R-Alaska), on behalf of the oil industry, blocked the motion. Her reasoning is worth a mention.

First, Murkowski invoked Alaska’s dismal experience following the Exxon Valdez disaster more than 20 years ago. “We lived with oil on our beaches,” she said. “We know the economic impact — we know the social impact — that a spill can cause.”

Then she argued that the responsible party should indeed pay for such accidents. The goal of Congress, she said, should be to “ensure that those that are responsible pay for the economic loss for the damages that are incurred. We’re with you on this.”

Then she immediately walked back that statement, arguing that a liability hike from $75 million to $10 billion ”isn’t where we need to be right now.” Instead, she offered, “maybe we need to understand a little bit better as to how much we might need to look at raising the limit.”

To no one’s surprise, she didn’t mention the $426,000 she’s accepted from the oil industry in her eight-year tenure on the Hill.

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Comment posted May 14, 2010 @ 7:54 am

There must be NO CAP placed on BP's financial responsibility to the people imperiled by BP's gross negligence. The 'Senators-to-the-Rescue' with their inappropriately inadequate $10 billion cap, are clearly stepping in to rescue their corporate masters. People of New Orleans, be damned.

BP and government NON REGULATORS are responsible for this environmental catastrophe, which has no end in sight. BP must pay ALL damages, including the ongoing economic losses.

I suggest that the USELESS CORPORATE SHILLS aka CONGRESS, suspend their taxpayer funded salaries including all the LIFETIME benefits they enjoy at the expense of the American taxpayer, and instead, for starters, funnel that money to the 27,000 people in New Orleans, who have lost their source of income and whose future incomes have been destroyed by this irreparable ecological meltdown.


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