The New York Times has reported (2010 August 04):
Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) has said he would not vote for the Democrats’ bill without changes to the liability language and inclusion of a revenue-sharing measure. He — along with Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) — are working on so-called compromise language that would address those issues…..
The language would likely raise the initial liability cap for companies involved in a spill from $75 million to $250 million, aides said last week. If damages exceed $250 million, then a $10 billion mutual insurance fund fed by industry would kick in. And if the economic damages associated with the spill maxed out that fund, payment responsibility would return to the company responsible for the spill with no limit on liability
Well, of course the header just reflects my opinion, but after what happened in Prince William Sound and all the people that suffered as a result of Exxon’s and BP’s actions up here in Alaska, how else do you explain Senator Mark Begich arguing for, along with Senator Lisa Murkowski, a liability cap to protect oil industry corporate giants from having to pay for any damages that might result from a catastrophic failure while those corporations are pursuing profits from our natural resources? Why is Begich siding with the minority? I can’t say I’m surprised considering how much money the big oil corps “pay” our elected officials and how much they spend to try and convince us that their companies deserve special treatment and protections. How much different is this from the days when “syndicate” henchmen claimed they could persuade members Alaska’s Territorial Legislature to vote their way with a bottle of whiskey?
We’ll see what the Begich compromise looks like – but I think the liability cap should be remvoed (wasn’t that the original proposal) while demanding guarantees that unlimited claims against the companies that drill in the U.S. can be covered (insurance); then we can let the “free market” sort it out.