Watching what is now being called the Deepwater Horizon oil spill coverage on every nightly news show for the last two months has been saddening and frustrating to say the least.
As time wears on, and more and more people and wildlife are being affected, anger starts to build within onlookers, the country and even the world.
How did this happen? Why does the oil continue to spew out all over the beautiful Gulf Coast and when is BP going to step up and really take care of the problem and the people?
Last week Rep. Rick Larsen sent a letter to the Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure calling for changes to the current oil spill pollution and response laws. The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure has jurisdiction over our nation’s oil spill response and prevention laws, such as the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 and the Clean Water Act.
In his letter, Larsen asks that the law “require deepwater oil rigs to install acoustic blowout preventers that can remotely shut off the flow of oil.”
It is shocking that this has not been a requirement up to now. This technology is required in other countries such as Brazil and Norway, but is not required in the United States. Why?
Larsen states, “We must force oil companies to take all possible safety precautions in order to prevent this tragedy from happening again.”
Larsen also suggests that we raise the $75 million cap for natural resource damages caused by an oil spill from an offshore facility.
“The current liability cap for offshore facilities in the Oil Pollution Act (OPA) has proven to be grossly inadequate to cover the damage caused by a major offshore oil spill.”
Why is there a cap at all? Shouldn’t mistakes made by a company have to be paid for by the company, no matter the cost?
Why should taxpayers have to pay for their screw up? We already pay them for our oil and gas. Liability for employees needs to come out of their pocket, not yours and mine.
Senator Patty Murray also had something to say about BP’s responsibilities when it comes to the disaster in the Gulf.
“I am glad that BP decided to take this important step toward fulfilling their responsibility to pay for the Gulf Coast cleanup,” (talking about the $20 billion they are putting towards the clean-up) said Senator Patty Murray. “This is a good first step, but I am not going stop fighting to protect Washington state taxpayers and making sure BP is on the hook for the full costs of cleanup. I saw first-hand how Exxon fought tooth and nail to deny fishermen and families from Washington state the compensation they deserved following the Valdez spill. So I am going to keep fighting to make sure that BP’s promises continue to translate into action.”
Kudos to Senator Murray but at this point we’re in a “wait and see” position when it comes to BP actually forking out the money to the families this oil spill has affected.
On Monday night, CNN had a benefit for families who have lost their livelihood because of the spill. Larry King along with Anderson Cooper and many other celebrities, want to make sure that these families are being taken care of now, not months or years from now, when they have lost everything. And what about the animals? Film clips of oil saturated birds and sea animals are heart breaking to say the least. What is BP doing about them?
Our representatives in Washington D.C. should be stomping their feet and demanding the money now. Stop talking about it, having discussions about it and sending letters and emails about it.
Make BP pay for its massive and destructive mistake and get that hole fixed now. Enough time has passed, enough excuses have been made, now is the time to give people hope that they will be taken care of and this mess will be taken care of now.
After the mess is cleaned up and families are back on their financial feet we can talk about changing laws and regulations.