By Jordan Fabian - 05/05/10 08:42 PM EDT
A key Democratic congressman Wednesday expressed reservations with raising the damages cap for oil companies.
Democratic leaders and the White House
want to move on legislation that would change the Oil Pollution Act to
raise the liability ceiling for companies that violate federal
regulations in the wake of a massive oil spill off the coast of
Louisiana caused by an explosion aboard a BP oil rig.
Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), who chairs the Energy and Commerce
oversight subcommittee, said Wednesday that the cap should not be
raised just to punish BP.
The spill has spurred calls on Capitol Hill to hold oil companies accountable.
Stupak suggested that the existing cap would not effect BP, which will likely have to pay more than the maximum $75 million if it is deemed the that company acted with gross negligence. The White House has expressed confidence the BP's legal liability will exceed the cap.
is an exception to that $75 million," he said. "There are a number of
exceptions and outlines, and actually we've looked at the oil
production act, and even as you start to apply to this case in the
Gulf, I think there is enough protections there because it's not just a
flat $75 million."
The spill on the BP rig is the worst
caused by a rig in decades and the explosion killed 11 people and left
several more hospitalized.
Some lawmakers have suggested raising the cap from $75 million to $10 billion.
Investigators are still determining the cause of the spill and continued seepage that is affecting the Louisiana coastline.
Cross-posted to the Briefing Room