Washington, DC— Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer joined Senators Bob Menendez, Sherrod Brown, and Jeanne Shaheen at a press conference this afternoon to discuss The Clean Energy Jobs and Oil Spill Accountability Act that was introduced earlier this week. Democrats are trying to pass this legislation to create jobs, lower consumers’ energy costs, protect the environment, and hold BP accountable for the Gulf Coast oil spill. Senate Republicans want taxpayers to foot the bill for BP’s disaster and let BP use endless legal battles to run out the clock on those whose livelihoods they destroyed. The Republican plan also does nothing to create jobs or reduce our nation’s dependence on oil.
“Under Senator Reid’s energy package, oil companies – including BP – will have to reimburse fishermen, families, businesses and workers harmed by their actions,” said Chairwoman Boxer. “Under the Republican alternative, oil companies could walk away virtually free of accountability for the damages they have caused.”
“It is simple common sense – when a company is perfectly happy to make billions of dollars undertaking a risky activity in public waters, then it needs to be perfectly comfortable with paying for any and all economic damage, if and when something goes horribly wrong,” said Senator Menendez. “The overwhelming majority of Americans understand this common sense idea of fairness. In fact, it seems that just about the only people who think that taxpayers and coastal families should pay for an oil company’s spill are oil companies themselves and the Republicans who fight for them in Congress. Theirs isn’t an oil company accountability proposal, it’s an oil company profit security proposal. It isn’t coastal family protection, it is a joke.”
“Despite the clear need to create jobs and hold Big Oil accountable, Republicans are continuing to put the interests of Big Oil over the interests of our nation,” said Senator Brown. “The Clean Energy Jobs and Oil Company Accountability Act is about creating jobs for American manufacturers and lowering energy costs for American households. It’s about holding big oil companies accountable for the damage they wreak on our environment and our economy.”
“The choice is clear,” said Senator Shaheen. “Our energy plan would create jobs and hold BP accountable. The Republicans three part plan is drill baby drill, ignore the spill, and kill the bill. The American people want and deserve better.”