Washington, DC— Senators Bob Menendez, Frank Lautenberg and Jeanne Shaheen held a media availability this afternoon to discuss Democratic efforts to hold BP accountable for the Gulf Coast oil spill, and call on Republicans to stop protecting BP. Today, the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee approved a bill to raise the liability cap on oil polluters like BP with virtually no support from Republicans. In addition, Senator Shaheen offered a bill to give subpoena power to National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, which is charged with investigating the cause of the BP oil spill. This common-sense bill passed the House by a vote of 420-1, but today Republicans blocked passage in the Senate. Watch the video HERE.
"We’ve put forth some pretty simple and common-sense pieces of legislation that provide chances for us to show that we stand with coastal families instead of oil companies, but Republicans consistently side with the oil companies,” said Senator Menendez. “The American people have shown clearly that they want oil companies held fully accountable, and we are working to do just that. If Republicans continue to oppose our efforts, they will be run over by public opinion."
“The oil is still gushing into the Gulf, and the damages already have far exceeded the measly $75 million cap on oil company liability,” said Senator Lautenberg. “Oil is now washing up on the Gulf coast shores, tourists are canceling their vacation plans, and fishermen have been forced to close their operations. Yet Republicans stand firmly on the side of Big Oil and have blocked repeated attempts to move this bill quickly through the Senate. Today we have taken an important step forward in our mission to ensure that polluters, not taxpayers or innocent victims, pay the full cost for oil spill damages.”
“Providing subpoena power to the commission tasked with investigating the BP oil spill is not and should not be a partisan issue,” said Senator Shaheen. “It wasn’t partisan in the House where this legislation passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. I don’t understand why it continues to be blocked in the Senate. It is unbelievable, after everything the people of the Gulf region have endured and this country has witnessed, that anyone is still standing with the oil company that caused this disaster instead of the victims who are suffering from it.”