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The Washington Independent

Menendez’s Bottom Line on Oil Spill Liability

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) is negotiating behind the scenes to come to a compromise on oil spill liability language that on-the-fence Democrats like Sens.

Iram Martins
News
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Aug 03, 2010

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) is negotiating behind the scenes to come to a compromise on oil spill liability language that on-the-fence Democrats like Sens. Mary Landrieu (La.) and Mark Begich (Alaska), and maybe even a Republican or two, can endorse.

A Senate aide privy to the negotiations says Menendez is “willing to listen,” as long as the final liability language includes three must-have provisions. According to the aide, the final language must:

  • Get rid of the liability cap.
  • Guarantee that coastal families are compensated for all damages.
  • Guarantee that taxpayers don’t have to spend a dime.

This doesn’t appear to leave much room for negotiation, particularly since Landrieu, Begich and most Republicans oppose the legislation (which Menendez wrote) because it lifts the cap on companies’ liability in the event of an oil spill. If Menendez isn’t willing to budge on the cap, the negotiations are certain to fall flat.

More broadly, this is the latest indication (and there are many) that an oil spill response bill isn’t going anywhere before the August recess and maybe even this year.

Iram Martins | Personal trainer. Aspiring sommelier. Brunch critic who works part-time. When I'm not competing, you'll find me at dog beaches with my black lab or sipping drinks at the best bars in town. I like to fly a lot.

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