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Gulf oil spill: Senators disagree over liability limits

Senate leaders disagreed Sunday on how hard the government should press oil companies to pay for oil spills such as BP's well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York, the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate, endorsed lifting the $75-million congressionally mandated cap on oil company liability, but Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said caps could be an important incentive to keep the private sector exploring for energy resources.

“The danger in taking the cap too high is that you end up with only massive, very large oil producers able to meet that cap and produce in the gulf,” McConnell said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

The minority leader said distress over the leak should not lead to policies that dramatically limit offshore drilling.

“As horrible as this is, it's important to remember that we get 30% of our oil from the gulf, and if you shut that down, you'd have $14 [per gallon] gasoline,” McConnell said.

McConnell and others noted that BP had pledged to pay costs incurred by the spill, regardless of the cap.

Current law limits oil company liability in such disasters to $75 million. But Senate Democrats, led by Sens. Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Bill Nelson of Florida, propose replacing it with a $10-billion cap and a fund to pay additional costs of such disasters.

“BP says it'll pay for this mess,” Nelson said recently. “Baloney. They're not going to want to pay any more than what the law says they have to, which is why we can't let them off the hook.”

McConnell called the spill “an environmental disaster of gargantuan proportions.” But he cautioned against blaming the oil industry alone, vowing that Republicans will ask what role the Obama administration had in regulating the drilling and approving an inadequate spill response plan.

“The administration's involvement in this will be a big part of the inquiry” that Congress will launch into the spill, McConnell said.

The exchange between Schumer and McConnell on "Meet the Press" came Sunday morning as workers in the gulf made a attempt to siphon spilling oil to a recovery ship by inserting a tube into the breached pipe that has been spewing 210,000 gallons of oil a day since the Deepwater Horizon explosion on April 20 killed 11.

The Obama administration has pressed BP to clarify whether it would attempt to restrict how much the company will pay for the clean up and resulting damage. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar wrote BP Chief Executive Anthony Hayward to make the company's intentions clear.

Hayward and other executives have said they are taking full responsibility for cleaning up the spill and will pay what they call “legitimate” claims.

On Friday, President Obama denounced a “cozy relationship” between oil companies and federal regulators and called for a more intensive system for reviewing drilling permits.

--Tom Hamburger, reporting from Washington
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55 gals/ barel
X 2.89/gal

7 yrs from start to spill??

No G W Bush responsibility??

How much oil did BP pump out of this well in the 3 days prior to the spill??

President Obama, enough stalling, this month old oil spill is deadly to our environment and economy and there is an ongoing over-up by BP, Congress, and the Mass Media in the name of “transparency”. President Obama, did BP tell you “NO” when you asked BP for the TOTAL damage videos of the oil well or are you hiding damage from the American People for our own good? “Trust but verify” are empty words when there is no transparency.
As American citizen victims, we demand to see ALL the video of the leaking blow-out preventer, leaking well head and the string of blown-out pipe with its numerous leaks. The only video BP released last week is of one leak at the end of the pipe far from the leaking well head and leaking preventer which is under much more pressure and leaking profusely. If the well head and preventer were not leaking, BP would have released video of them. BP’s oil salvage activity at the end of the pipe has been a total science fiasco and is a diversion of attention from the main leaks at the preventer and well head.
Secretive, arrogant and powerful BP refuses to release the videos of the total well head damage and President Obama is complicit in the cover-up.
We have the right to see the total damage and leakage so scientist and engineers can truly evaluate the situation.
President Obama you have not taken control of the spill, you have allowed secret BP to call the shoots from the beginning to the present. The “best scientific minds in the world” came up with one good Idea to stop the flow according to Mr. Hayward but he will not tell the public what the idea is and is continuing on BP’s present course of failure. BP has their secret program and has not taken positive action with known Marine Pile Driving Technology to stop the oil flow permanently.
President Obama you have failed to take charge by not stepping in to control BP’s operations with a STOP THE Oil FLOW TASK FORCE of FBI, Corps of Army Engineers, scientist and private marine construction contractors to begin taking positive action to stop the oil flow permanently. Three months from now (hurricane season) the ecological and economic burden will be so great that the United States of America will be catastrophically bankrupt. Oh well, we have the benevolent Totalitarian New World Order governance waiting to save us which is the real underlying Trilateral order of the day.
The Trilateral strategy is like throwing a chipmunk into a tub of water and letting him swim until he drowns but at the last second you rescue the chipmunk and he is supposed to be so grateful to you for saving his life that he dedicates the rest of his life to you.
This is right out of Big Oils company playbook: secrecy, stall for time, public relations, litigation protection, maintaining image and owned puppet Congress members to do their bidding.
BP took home $93 million per day in profits—for a total of $6.1 billion—during the first quarter alone. The approximate $3.5 million in damage claims paid out so far by BP are significantly less than CEO Tony Hayward’s 2009 compensation, estimated at over $4,700,000 by Forbes. Senators in Congress are trying to limit BP’s liability and as proof of BP’s prior oil spill conduct in paying liability; look at the Exxon Valdez ongoing 16 year financial litigation fight! The Trilateral Bankers and Big Oil members in our government are flying the United States of America environment and economy straight into the ground and taxpayers are being enslaved by the resulting National debt.
Senator Murkowski, in true reality, are you and the rest of the members of Congress “ready” for the horrendous backlash coming your way from the American People over this Trilateral Banking and Big Oil treachery to destroy our economy and overthrow our Independence and Democracy by bankrupting the American people into world governance under the New World Order? World Bankers and Big Oil will be untouchable and responsible to no nation then.
Call your representatives in Congress and demand that the BP videos of the total damage showing the leaks at the well head, preventer and pipe string be released today! We need to stop the oil flow permanently today!


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