GOP Sen. Murkowski on the Side of Oil Companies, Not American People
May 14, 2010
(ChattahBox)—Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) doesn’t like the idea of forcing multibillion-dollar oil companies to pay for the devastation caused by oil leaks. On Thursday, the Republican lawmaker blocked a simple voice vote to raise the liability cap for oil companies from $75 million, a mere drop in the bucket, to $10 billion, which is still a low-ball figure compared to the estimated economic and environmental destruction, expected from the Deepwater Horizon oil leak disaster. So, why did Murkowski object to the proposal?
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) charged that Murkowski is clearly in the pocket of big oil companies and she is not serving the American people:
‘“It’s straightforward, it’s common sense,” Menendez said. “Either you want to fully protect the small businesses, individuals and communities devastated by a man-made disaster — this is not a natural disaster; this is a man-made disaster — or you want to protect multibillion-dollar oil companies from being held fully accountable. Apparently there are some in the Senate who prefer to protect the oil companies.”’
Murkowski defended her objection to the measure, claiming it would harm smaller oil companies.
The big oil industry has been heavily lobbying Congress to kill any efforts to raise their liability limits.
And as reported by Think Progress, the day before the vote, and just hours before oil company officials were scheduled to appear before a Congressional panel investigating the Gulf oil spill, a gaggle of Republicans convened at the nearby Capitol Hill Club to raise money from the oil companies:
“House Republicans gathered a few blocks away for an “oil and gas breakfast” fundraiser with the oil and gas industry to benefit Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX).” Oil officials from BP, Haliburton and Transocean, the firms responsible for the Gulf oil spill, attended the breakfast and handed out fistfuls of cash to Republicans.
Think Progress “asked Brady, who praised the environmental record of the oil industry shortly after the spill, if he still believed that oil drilling still has a “very positive” record. He replied, “you know, I do.”
Drill, baby drill indeed. Big oil companies win and the American people lose big time.