Bennet-Backed Bill to Ensure Big Oil, Not Taxpayers, Cleans Up Mess Clears Key Senate Hurdle

Washington, DC – Michael Bennet, U.S. Senator for Colorado, released the following statement on passage of the Big Oil Bailout Prevention Unlimited Liability Act out of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee:

“In the real world, actions have consequences – the same principle should apply to big oil companies like BP,” said Bennet. “Big oil companies need to know that if they drill, and they spill, they’re on the hook, and not taxpayers, for any and all economic damages.”

The Big Oil Bailout Prevention Unlimited Liability Act, which Bennet is cosponsoring,  would ensure that big oil companies are forced to pay for all economic damages—such as lost business revenues from fishing and tourism, natural resources damages or lost local tax revenue—that result from oil spills by eliminating the economic damage liability cap. The cap currently stands at $75 million. The bill now goes to the full Senate for debate.

Earlier this month, Bennet and several other Senators successfully called on BP to immediately establish a $20 billion special account to cover the costs necessary to clean up the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and compensate Gulf Coast residents and businesses that have suffered economic damages.

Bennet has also called for a Justice Department investigation of the owner of the destroyed oil rig, Transocean Ltd., after reports that it intended to distribute $1 billion to private shareholders. He has cosponsored a bill to give subpoena power to a Presidential appointed commission investigating the spill and has said BP should cease a $50 million advertising campaign until it settles claims and lays out plans to pay for the cleanup efforts and the costs of the economic and environmental damage.