My Senator – Lisa Murkowski stood up against citizens to voice her support of corporations – she stood alone on the floor (business as usual):
Sen. Murkowki’s remarks:
Remarks by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) on Senate floor
May 13, 2010
From C-SPAN transcript
I do reserve the right to object, and i’d like to take just a few minutes here this
afternoon to explain why i will be objecting to this unanimous consent request.
Now, i’ve sat and listened to my three colleagues here and i have great empathy
for the concern that you share.
I share it as well.
I represent a state that was devastated about 20 years ago — a little more than
20 years ago when the exxon valdez hit the rocks.
We lived with oil on our beaches.
We know the economic impact.
We know the social economic that a spill can cause.
And we want to all be working together to ensure that whether it’s the devastation
that you see in your hotels in florida or whether it is — it is the loss to the
fishermen, that we ensure — that we ensure that those that are responsible pay
for the economic loss, for the damages that are incurred.
We’re with you on this.
But the reason i stand and object at this point in time is i don’t believe that taking
the amount of the cap, if you will, the liability cap from $75 million, where it is
currently, to a $10 billion in strict liability, 133 times the size of the current strict
liability limit, is where we need to be right now.
And i’m not just the only one that suggests that maybe we need to understand a
little bit better as to how much we might need to look at raising the limit.
The administration just yesterday in their oil spill legislative package have
proposed an effort — their proposal as a state would raise the cap liability for the
The administration looks forward to working with congress to develop levels for
the various caps that provide for substantial and proportional increases.
If the senator will just allow me just a couple minutes to conclude this i would be
happy to yield the floor.
I do think that we need to look at the liability cap and consider raising it.
But i think we need to be careful about unintended consequences, of picking a
number — $10 billion.
Let me just outline what i’m talking about when i say “unintended consequences.”
this has been named “the big oil bailout prevention liability act.” but i think you’ve
got some irony here in that what this would do is give all of america’s offshore oil
resources to the biggest of big oil.
It would be impossible or perhaps close to impossible for any energy company
that is smaller than the supermajors, smaller than the national oil companies, to
operate in the o.c.s.
$10 billion in strict liability would preclude their ability to obtain financing, to
obtain the bonds, or insurance for any exploration.
And look at who is producing in the offshore?
It’s the independents.
They produce two-thirds of natural gas, one-third of the oil.
So if we move forward with this in raising this liability cap to $10 billion, the only
companies that are going to be ail to self-insure against this level of strict liability
are the national oil companies, the supermajors — and we all know who they are -
- they’re the saudi, aramco, and of course british petroleum.
But it’s been mentioned a couple of different times now that we need to ensure
that b.p. as the responsible party pays, and the comment has been made, well,
$75 million just is not going to be sufficient.
I think what people need to remember is that $75 million — the cap on the strict
liability only applies to what the responsible parties have to pay back in the
context of o.p.a. — the oil pollution afnlgt the law expressly allows for unlimited
You’ve got unlimited damages in state courts where the compensatory, the
punitive damages are already being sawvment as we speak, sought.
As we speak, the Louisiana shrimpers filed a class action lawsuit against b.p.,
transocean, halliburton and cameron for their economic losses and alleging
negligence and seeking both economic and punitive damages.
I think state of florida on may 10 announced they filed a suit against b.p.
On may 12, the fishermen filed another such lawsuit in mississippi, recognizing
that again they have the ability to go after unlimited damages in those forums.
So again, mr. President, i am open to raising the liability cap, but we’ve got both
a directive from the white house and the american people — who i believe still
support offshore drilling — we need to adjust these liability caps in a way that
doesn’t give the biggest oil companies a monopoly over the entire o.c. svment
with that, mr. President, i would object to the unanimous consent at this time