Dem lawmaker wants BP banned from getting future drilling leases

The government should stop granting new offshore oil drilling leases to BP and consider suspending its current leases, a Democratic lawmaker urged Tuesday.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) wrote Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to ask that BP, which leases the rig in the Gulf of Mexico that exploded and triggered the massive oil spill in the gulf, "be banned permanently from receiving any future drilling leases."

Gutierrez also asked that investigators from the Mineral Management Services (MMS) be deployed to BP rigs to ensure their safety to continue operating.

"If BP cannot demonstrate that it has met its obligations, we ask that you consider suspending the offending leases," the Illinois Democrat wrote.

The Obama administration is still working with BP to contain the spill, which has raged underwater for the better part of a month now.

Lawmakers grilled BP executives and officials from other companies responsible for the damaged rig during a Senate hearing last week.

Gutierrez's proposal would seem to be one of the most stringent proposals to punish BP. A group of Senate Democrats has tried passing legislation that would increase BP and other oil companies' liability for spills to $10 billion from a current cap of $75 million. That effort has been met by GOP objections.

More in News

Dem senator calls on lawmakers to publicize notes on CIA briefings

Read more »