Maybe oil companies like BP are careless with safety standards because, after devastating the tourist and fishing industries (not to mention the environment) of the Gulf, they’re on the hook for about one day’s oil profits in economic damages. In protest of that liability cap and one of the senators who wants to keep it, a woman poured “oil” on herself in Congress Wednesday.
Diane Wilson, one of the founders of the Code Pink protest group, today anointed herself with a glass jar of toffee-colored oil at a Senate Energy Subcommittee meeting to protest, she says, Senator Lisa Murkowski’s blocking of a bill that would have lifted BP’s liability cap. President Obama had earlier in the week announced he was supporting lifting the $75 million cap, to raise it to $10 billion. Wilson was removed from the meeting and arrested, according to the Code Pink web site. Read more
David Sirota writes in a recent column:
Considering the fact that oil-spill costs can far surpass $75 million, this is the old “too big to fail” idea propping up the oil companies. Applied specifically to the gulf cataclysm, the statute suggests that the national interest is best served by having taxpayers and communities foot the bill for the destruction rather than having companies like British Petroleum suffer the balance-sheet pain of paying the full damages. Read more
The Caucus reports on efforts to raise the liability cap:
At a hearing of the Environment and Public Works Committee on Wednesday, the bill’s sponsors — Robert Menendez of New Jersey, Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, and Bill Nelson of Florida — as well as a parade of witnesses from the Gulf region’s tourism and fishing industry demanded that BP be held responsible for every penny of pain caused by the disaster.
The administration and Congressional Democrats are united in their support of the bill, saying that it would institute an incentive for companies to play it safe in the future. Read more