OpenCongress Blog

Blog Feed Comments Feed More RSS Feeds

Senate Committee Approves Unlimited Oil Company Liability

June 30, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Since the Deepwater Horizon exploded and oil began gushing in the Gulf, Senate Democrats have tried repeatedly, under unanimous consent agreements, to move legislation to lift the $75 million cap on oil companies’ liability for economic damages caused by spills and gushers. Each time they tried, they were blocked by Republicans who argue that raising the liability cap would discourage competition in the offshore oil-drilling industry.

So the Democrats are moving forward with plan two — advancing the bill under regular order, through the committee process to the Senate floor. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee passed the bill today, and they added a major strengthening amendment that will make the Republicans who objected to the original bill like it even less. Business Week reports:

BP Plc would have unlimited financial liability for oil spills under a measure approved today by a Senate panel to scrap a $75 million limit under a 20- year-old law.

The amendment to the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 would force offshore oil drillers responsible for spills to pay “the full cost” of damages. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved the measure by voice vote and sent it to the full Senate.

President Barack Obama supports raising the ceiling and has faulted Republicans for blocking efforts to make BP more fully liable for damages tied to its Gulf of Mexico spill. BP Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward has said he expects the liability limit to be increased.

London-based BP, Europe’s second-largest oil producer, will honor all “legitimate” claims from those harmed, such as the region’s fishing and tourist industry, Hayward has said.

The committee amended a version of the legislation that had proposed raising the limit to $10 billion from $75 million.

So, they’ve taken a bill that would have raised the $75 million cap to $10 billion and amended it to just remove the cap altogether. This is about more than just ensuring economic justice for people who have been affected by the Deepwater Horizon gusher. It’s also intended to create incentives for oil companies to make sure that their emergency plans and blowout preventers are in good working condition. With unlimited liability, it will be in their financial interest to make sure their drilling activities are safe.

Like this post? Stay in touch by following us on Twitter, joining us on Facebook, or by Subscribing with RSS.
 

Comments

  • Chris51 06/30/2010 8:35am

    • It’s the Republican party who is busy watching out for Wall Street/Corporations.
    Shame on Congress for not coming up with a solution for ALL its’ displaced hard working Americans.
    • 9.7% unemployed = 1.2 million Americans, and 55% of the workforce have taken reduced work hours, pay-cuts, unpaid leave, forced to switch to part-time. The BP Oil Corporation’s IRRESPONSIBLENESS is adding to LOST JOBS and LOST LIVES.

    Yesterday, President Obama’s discussed what was happening with corporations, the economy, and the need to help the displaced unemployed. Watch his entire interview on CSPAN. He gets it.

    CNN and FOX only report on self-interested, with their main story and topics cycling 24 hours. Go to CSPAN
    CSPAN: http://www.c-span.org/Watch/Media/2010/06/29/HP/A/34826/Pres+Obama+Remarks+on+the+Economy.aspx

    wwww.change.org

  • Comm_reply
    Chris51 07/01/2010 8:35am

    Corporations have increased their cash reserves to $1.84 TRILLION, THE HIGHEST FIGURE IN HISTORY! Big business and the banks, after an unprecedented bailout by the public treasury, are hoarding the funds (Americans pay this back on their IRS tax bill). BIG CORPORATIONS EXECUTIVES ARE MAKING BIG BONUSES AND GETTING SALARY INCREASES FOR SHOWING HUGE PROFITS. The cash reserves of major corporations have jumped 26 percent in one year, the largest percentage increase in nearly 60 years. The cash reserves of working people, and particularly the unemployed, have not been so fortunate.

    REPUBLICANS bloc, the SENATE vote and defeat a proposed extension of unemployment benefits for unemployed workers. Many of these same Senators rushed through a $700 BILLION bailout of Wall Street in 2008 in a matter of days, cannot bring itself to support even the most meager subsistence for the unemployed workers who are the victims, not the perpetrators, of the economic crisis.
    WWW.CHANGE.ORG

  • Comm_reply
    Chris51 07/01/2010 9:51pm

    SHAME, SHAME, SHAME to Republicans and those few Democrats who blocked several U.I. Ext. bills from passing they turned their backs on THE PEOPLE again.

    Most of these same House Representatives and Senators united to pass bills that gave their Wall Street/Banks SEVERAL billion $$$s in bailouts in 2008, starting with JP MORGAN CHASE, one of the many banks that took advantage of consumers.

    Then their oil companies made billions in profit during the summer of 2008, as they strategically increased gas prices by $1-$2 on Americans at the pump. Americans had to pay for gas to get to work. Soon American’s household budgets were out of balance, and started foreclosing on home loans.

    Your companies stayed fat$$ at the top by cutting jobs, while leaving The People jobless, without Unemployment Insurance, struggling and sadly disillusioned.
    www.change.org

  • Comm_reply
    Chris51 07/08/2010 6:46pm

    GOP are determined to bloc everything the President is trying to do for the USA right now. He has a vested interest, and seems to take pride in doing the best job he can while in office.
    We are in trouble as long as Republican politicians continue favoring their special interest.
    How can any CEO or Owner of business get anything done if half of his managers or executives stand in his way just to be defiant.

    President Obama speech on CSPAN today, while in Kansas City, MO to support a future candidate. Was right on.
    If you are an unemployed American, and are thinking no one understands the difficulties of being jobless. Obama speech articulated the financial and emotional struggles well. Hat’s off to the President for saying what needed to be said.

    http://cspan.org/Watch/Media/2010/07/08/HP/A/35248/Pres+Obama+Remarks+at+Fundraiser+for+Missouri+Senate+Candidate+Robin

  • Comm_reply
    Chris51 07/08/2010 6:46pm

    Senator’s excuse for not passing is a false statement.
    Read all about it:
    The funding argument is even harder to swallow. I’d be more sympathetic with these new converts to fiscal responsibility if they were as enthusiastic about paying for extending $32 billion worth of special interest tax breaks as they are about funding the unemployment extension. If I understand correctly, these lawmakers insist that Congress fund every dime of added jobless aid, which nearly all analysts agree will help boost the economy. But they feel no need to pay for continuing these special interest tax breaks, which will not.
    Full Story:
    http://www.csmonitor.com/Money/Tax-VOX/2010/0707/Senate-struggles-with-unemployment-benefits

  • Comm_reply
    Chris51 07/10/2010 6:41am

    Republicans filibustered UI Ext bill! They’re asking for UI Ext be paid, while at the same time they’re fighting to give their Special Interest groups special tax stimulus. Rep are trying to look like they care about the deficit, but for 10 yrs (Bush Admin) they never spoke of concerns for the huge deficit they were digging us into as they approved large spending for Special Interest. The Rep debate on these UI Ext bills are like “broken record”. They want USA to use the stimulus money that is already committed to the agreed upon projects, programs, etc. Republicans want USA to “rob Peter to pay Paul”, so they can try to prolong the problem past November election. This is how they have operated for YEARS, and we’re in worse shape now because of their IRRESPONSIBLENESS. People should not be in Leadership positions if they cant make decision for the problems at hand.
    Dont take my word for it. Please read links Donny Shaw and others have provided with accurate research and reporting.

  • Comm_reply
    Chris51 07/10/2010 2:55pm

    Top 5 Contributions from Oil&Gas Industry 2009-2010:
    1 Koch Industries $724,300 14% Dems, 86%Repubs
    2 Exxon Mobil $548,214 13% Dems, 87% Repubs
    3 Chevron Corp $516,891 18% Dems, 82% Repubs
    4 Valero Energy $467,000 17% Dems, 83% Repubs
    5 Marathon Oil $378,190 23% Dems, 76% Repubs

    http://www.wvcoal.com/ 2007 data
    Chevron Total coal production: 12.1 million tons
    ExxonMobil Total coal production: 2.1 million tons

    Tea Party Movement benefits from millions of dollars from conservative foundations that are derived from wealthy U.S. families and their business interests. Money flowing primarily through two conservative groups: Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks. FreedomWorks receives substantial funding from David Koch of Koch Industries, the largest privately-held energy company in the country, which make substantial annual donations to conservative org…
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Tea_Party_movement_funding

  • Comm_reply
    Chris51 07/10/2010 2:55pm

    Sharron Angle a Tea Party favorite:
    If you’ve been following the ongoing Senate campaign of Nevada hopeful Sharron Angle, you know that she’s sick and tired of the long-term unemployed taking home all of those cushy unemployment benefits. Angle’s angle is that these millions of Americans are just living large on the dole and need to have their unemployment benefits terminated so that they will be motivated to go out and get a job — one of the millions of magical jobs that exist in Sharron Angle’s mind!
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/30/sharron-angles-unemployme_n_631350.html

  • Comm_reply
    Chris51 07/10/2010 2:56pm

    Letter was written to Senators:
    On behalf of hundreds of thousands of FreedomWorks members nationwide, I urge you to carefully consider all aspects of H.R. 4213…

    If the bill comes to a vote as currently formulated, we encourage you to vote NO, and will track the vote on our Economic Scorecard….

    FreedomWorks (FreedomWorks funders for Tea Party ;)

    http://www.freedomworks.org/publications/freedomworks-to-senate-remove-job-killing-taxes-fr

  • Comm_reply
    Chris51 07/10/2010 9:21pm

    Republicans only care about one thing, their own job preservation. Reps are working hard to win November’s election with the help of Tea Party Movement (FreedomWorks) and their BIG CONTRIBUTIONS FROM SPECIAL INTEREST.

    Oil&Gas Industry Contribution 2009-2010
    Koch Industries $724,300 14% Dems, 86% Repubs

    Kosh has made big contributions to FreedomWorks, a non-profit that funds Tea Party. These 2 organizations are putting a great deal of pressure on Senators to not support UI Ext. with stimulus that require corporations to help pay back through taxes.

    Most big corporations have made record profits this year by cutting jobs long-term. They started layoffs in 2007, and putting millions of Americans on unemployment.

    They created the business mantra of “DO MORE, WITH LESS”, causing todays workforce to do more job responsibility with no more pay.

  • Chris51 06/30/2010 10:22pm

    The Senate needs to be held accountable for their incompetence and lack of integrity. Shame on them for not coming up with a 100% solution for all Americans who are forced to survive on their UI.

    President Obama can’t sign a bill, if Congress doesn’t get it to him. President Obama’s discussed the economy, and the need to help the displaced unemployed with UI Extentions on Monday and Tuesday. CSPAN.ORG

    As of today, we have 9.7% unemployed, 55% of the workforce have taken reduced work hours, pay-cuts, unpaid leave, forced to switch to part-time, and BP Oil Corporation’s IRRESPONSIBLENESS is adding to LOST JOBS and LOST LIVES.
    1.2 million who will lose their Unemployment Insurance if Republicans get their way.

    The GOP have no vested interest in hearing or helping jobless people. The only communication Republicans hear is $$$$$. That’s why they listen to and only support Oil Companies, Insurance Companies, Banks, Big Corporations, and Wall Street

  • mbildner 07/01/2010 8:15am

    test post

  • Chris51 07/03/2010 9:55pm

    REPUBLICAN FILIBUSTER ON UI EXT BILLS!
    Why don’t our Senators get that there is a great need?

    The job market is broken.
    The corporate executives are not going to give up their year-end profit bonus by adding jobs/payroll to their companies.

    Here are a few stories on our jobless nation:

    Job recovery hits a wall
    http://money.cnn.com/2010/07/02/news/economy/jobs_june/index.htm

    Job gloom at all time high
    http://money.cnn.com/2010/07/03/news/economy/discouraged_workers/index.htm

    7.9 million jobs lost- many forever
    http://money.cnn.com/2010/07/02/news/economy/jobs_gone_forever/index.htm

    Jobless claims spike
    http://money.cnn.com/2010/07/01/news/economy/jobless_claims/index.htm

    Thousands at risk for losing unemployment benefits
    http://www.myfoxphoenix.com/dpp/money/job_news/unemployment-benefits-jeopardy-6-28-2010

  • Chris51 07/06/2010 1:34pm

    Great reporting on YouTube.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ljoh5oW1Yb8

    This news reporting, the debates on CSPAN, and OpenCongress.com help give the public a close-up look at our cRepresentives job incompetence.

    Congress should draft up a “Fairness To Jobless Citizen’s Act”, that would remove incompetent Senators and be required to replace them with an unemployed American that will appreciate the job opportunity, work hard and will be effective for The People.

  • Chris51 07/07/2010 9:08pm

    CNN has actually screened and blocked several comments/blogs that expose the truth about the Republican Senators in regards to the UI Ext bills.

    Here are some stories written with very accurate reporting of the UI Ext Crisis.

    The unemployment emergency
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/05/AR2010070502658.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

    Senate struggles with unemployment benefits
    http://www.csmonitor.com/Money/Tax-VOX/2010/0707/Senate-struggles-with-unemployment-benefits

    Calls to Suicide Hotlines Skyrocket Along with Unemployment
    http://uspoverty.change.org/blog/view/calls_to_suicide_hotlines_skyrocket_along_with_unemployment

  • Chris51 07/08/2010 9:53am

    Read and sign this petition on Change.org today if you agree.

    Petition Title: Tell your Senators to vote for an emergency extension of UI Benefits.

    http://uspoverty.change.org/blog/category/employment_unemployment

  • Chris51 07/10/2010 7:26pm

    Halliburton Continues to Flood Lawmakers With Contributions After Oil Spill
    Published on July 9, 2010
    Halliburton, the company once headed by former Republican Vice President Dick Cheney contributed $15,500 to federal candidates during June, according to a Center for Responsive Politics review of their political action committee’s most recent campaign finance filing…

    Opensecret.com

Due to the archiving of this blog, comment posting has been disabled.