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This legislation seems like a no-brainer: A bill that takes steps to prevent another such disaster, in the wake of the worst oil spill in the history of both the Gulf and the United States. Thankfully, such a bill -- one that requires deep water drilling be better regulated, demands oil companies employ more preventative measures and have thorough response plans, and eliminates the 'liability cap' on how much those companies must pay in damages when they cause a spill -- is advancing in the Senate. In other words, it may not be long before we see a 'BP spill bill'. Here are the detailsThe AP reports:
Congress began advancing legislation Wednesday that imposes new safeguards on offshore oil drilling in hopes of preventing a repeat of the devastating spill that has brought environmental and economic havoc to the Gulf coast.The bills advanced with bipartisan support -- something that's rare at the moment -- and now face a full Senate vote. Expect Republicans and the handful of oil-allied Democrats to oppose the bill for somehow killing jobs (it won't) and being too tough on poor ol' corporations. But they're going to have to choose their opposing arguments carefully, after Joe Barton's much-publicized apology to BP highlighted how indebted the GOP is to oil company interests.
Two Senate committees separately approved bills that would strengthen the government's regulation of offshore drilling, require oil companies to be better prepared to cope with a spill, and lift federal spill-related economic liability limits.
Important to note: This bill does not stop offshore drilling. It just strives to make it safer, less disaster prone, and moves to hold corporations accountable financially for the damage they cause to the environment and economy. In a just world, opposing that seems like political suicide. In ours, well, we'll see . . .
More on the BP Gulf Spill
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Breaking Down the BP Gulf Spill Blame Game