May 4th, 2010
08:47 AM ET
8 years ago

Senator: 'BP says it'll pay for this mess. Baloney.'


On Monday, the lawmakers introduced legislation to do away with an existing $75 million cap on oil companies for damages resulting from spills, such as loss of tourism revenue. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

(CNN) - Lawmakers will meet with environmental groups Tuesday to gauge the impact from an explosion aboard a BP oil rig that uncorked a gusher of oil off the coast of Louisiana.

Democratic senators Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez of New Jersey along with Bill Nelson of Florida will talk to officials from the Sierra Club and Environment America to discuss courses of action as the impact of a potential disaster continues to unfold.

On Monday, the lawmakers introduced legislation to do away with an existing $75 million cap on oil companies for damages resulting from spills, such as loss of tourism revenue.

The senators want to raise the cap to $10 billion.

"BP says it'll pay for this mess. Baloney," said Nelson, referring to the oil giant that owns the well at the heart of the problem.

"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."

BP chief executive, Tony Hayward, has vowed that company would "absolutely be paying for the clean-up operation" of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

"Where legitimate claims are made, we will be good for them," he told NPR's "Morning Edition."

But the feds were leaving little to chance.

Full story

Filed under: Congress • Energy • Obama administration
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Ethan

    BOYCOTT BP!!! Let's do OUR part and boycott the company that screwed up the Gulf of Mexico and the southern states with tourist and seafood industries. And NO drilling off the EAST or WEST coasts of America. None. Ban it permanently and focus on alternative energy and efficincy technologies.

    May 4, 2010 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  2. Frank

    idiots....destroye BP...... and WE the people will pay no oil = higher gas prices
    Obama did not move a finger on day one
    they were not "all hands on deck"...

    May 4, 2010 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  3. phoenix86

    Democrats want to make sure that their Trail Lawyer masters get a chance to rip apart BP.

    May 4, 2010 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  4. Chessnutz of Liverpool NY

    What about the lost lives? I have not heard anything said about the loss of life? Nothing said about who these men were. We have heard nothing about how the families are coping with the loss.
    When the coal mine took 29 lives we had endless coverage of the widows and families. Please lets not forget that the lack of safety was paid with the lives of working people.

    May 4, 2010 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  5. No Incumbents 2010

    BP lied.
    BP had no Plan B in case of a leak.
    No Plan C. No Plan D.
    Now BP's only plan is "natural disbursement" i.e. do nothing while the oil slick continues to grow and reach shore.
    Due to its negligence, BP will now experience the pleasures of the American civil justice system.

    May 4, 2010 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  6. haren

    OECD organisation of economics and co-operation development .
    To my republican tickers go and look at this report and see where USA stand in comparison to all that so called socialist European country.
    one of the surprise is that USA has lowest tax rate and rich people and corporation don't pay tax with all loop holes.
    No surprised why we have deficit and can not provide free health care, free education, six week vacation, child care etc. like all that socialist country.

    May 4, 2010 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  7. enough

    They should pay for it. The price of doing business... You can't have record profits mutiple years and then have the government bailing you out the next!! Have a great day!

    May 4, 2010 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  8. USN

    Isn't it odd that bama's first team at the disaster was a team of lawyers.

    May 4, 2010 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  9. Dave

    I see no reason why the cap shouldn't be raised or just eliminated. If they make the mess, they should have to clean it up without weaseling out of it.

    May 4, 2010 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  10. Neaderthal Republicans

    Instead of constantly revisiting Roe-vs-Wade, Congress should be proactively looking at laws like this. That $75M cap is woefully inadequate and out dated.

    If Congress was really working wouldn't there be some Republicans pushing to hold BP accountable too?

    May 4, 2010 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  11. Mike

    WHAT, these demorats are accusing BP of lying, I am sorry, but the demorats have the lying market cornered especially nelson of my home state(Florida).

    May 4, 2010 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  12. JonDie

    Oil companies pay NOTHING except record bonuses to their CEOs and dividends to their shareholders. Oil companies are a cancer on the landscape.

    May 4, 2010 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  13. Gil

    Cries of "Drill Babby Drill" have grown silent as the American public realizes that the source of those words came from an idiot!

    May 4, 2010 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  14. Jack

    The law was fine until a political opportunity comes along for a couple of real politicians. What a waste to have these guys as our legislators....change the rules in the middle of the game. Reminds me of the current Kennedy drafted immigration laws that seems now to need reform...Surely his majesty Ted is spinning in his grave. We really need to elect all new Congress and get rid of these self-serving and self-promoting incompetents.

    May 4, 2010 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  15. Jeff Spangler

    Whatever. Count on the same 15-20 years of liitgation as in Exxon Valdez. Some claims will be paid quickly, but the major fight will be among BP, Transocean, Halliburton and Cameron to allocate shares of liability. No reason to hurry that process. There's money to be made, but not in a quick and global settlement.

    May 4, 2010 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  16. do not let them away with current GOP voted limits

    we will continue to feel the debacle that was the Bush presidency for some time

    do not let them away with the 75 million dollar limit voted on by the paid for with gas money GOP

    this massive mistake was completely their fault and no GOP safety net should shield them from paying for the damage they are continuing to do to America

    May 4, 2010 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  17. Marge

    Fox is like a little repetitious snake. It says the same lies over and over hoping someone, and usually the idiots an stupids who watch their republican infomerical channel do.

    They are peeing themselves trying to blame Obama administration for the oil spill. NOW they say if they had boomers or some kind of instrument such as that they could have contained the spill and burnt it off.

    WELL even my 14 year old grandson knows that even if the government was supposed to have all the equipment that BP was supposed to have had and didn't, how can you contain a spill that keeps gushing and gushing and gushing.

    I guess they are trying to make the Obama administration miracle workers and don't even know it.

    May 4, 2010 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  18. Rick McDaniel

    If they don't pay for it......seize all of their assets in the US, and freeze access to all their assets off shore. Don't be afraid to put them OUT OF BUSINESS, if they do not pay.

    May 4, 2010 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  19. Pat F

    Is Nelson returning the $1,000 in campaign contributions he received from BP? I thought not.

    May 4, 2010 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  20. Bill from GA

    We had W and Bill to help in Haiti. Let's get (draft??) Dick Chaney and Al Gore to fix this mess.

    Cheney could wrangle his oil buddies to handle the uncontrolled output of oil. Al could handle the environmental issues. Hire locals whenever possible.

    Our president could put Joe Biden in charge as Vice-Commander-in-Chief of the entire project (take his wife, Dr. Jill, as communication liason, to keep his foot out of his mouth). Joe would throw money at everything. Send Gietner down with accountants to track every penny (no fraud allowed). Send the entire bill to BP.

    May 4, 2010 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  21. Dano

    Considering the record profits oil companies have been making for the last several years it shouldn't be any hardship at all for them to pay into this fund, but you just know they'll be screaming about how poor they are as soon as this becomes law. It will be interesting to see how forthcoming BP will be with funding the clean up of their mess. Meanwhile the massive oil slick gets nearer to the Louisianna & Florida coastlines. Entire industries, such as shrimping, fishing, and raising oysters will be devastated for decades to come. Will BP compensate the people who made their living on the now ruined waterways of the Gulf States? How about the tourism industries? Can the economic impact of this disaster even be determined and what compensation will those hurt by the oily beaches & water get? How's that "Drill baby Drill" chant sound now?

    May 4, 2010 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  22. Eric

    "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."

    Soooo, then, the takeaway message here is: don't expect equal treatment under the law, because if we don't like you, we'll just change the laws to suit our political whims... or even worse, outright make up special laws to punish you even more.

    Speaking of "cleaning up," it's clearly time to clean house in both houses of congress and introduce constitutional amendments for term limits (of both houses) and the repeal of the 17th Amendment as the first two bills passed by the new conservative congressional majority.

    May 4, 2010 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  23. NVa Native

    Bill them for every penny.
    And then set up a fund with money taken from all the oil companies who have off-shore drilling riggs to pay for just such avoidable screw-ups.
    And keep a list of all the oil company lobyists in our US Congress who vote against it so we can understand who they think they work for when the elections are held.
    And then put forth legislation to correct all the screw ups of the Bush administartion that lead to this. Cheney said it would cost too much to have shut-off valves – no look at how much it will cost to not have them.
    What a selfish scum-bag Cheney has been proven to be. Again!

    May 4, 2010 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  24. Sam

    Yeah right. The federal government and it's stooges are a bunch of hypocrites. They take $100 billion per year in gas taxes, but non of the responsibility.

    Personally I think BP should tell the US where to go, then withdraw from the US market and watch the US economy crumble as gas prices increase to $25 a gallon.

    It's screwed up that the feds can put a man on the moon, but not stop a leak a mile away, then start the blame game to cover-up Government involvement in the US companies which are to blame.

    May 4, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  25. Simon

    Mr. Obama and Senators,

    I'm curious if you know about a place called Hanford which is in Washington State where I live. I heard it's one of the most toxic places on earth.

    I, like everyone else in Washington state, will be happy to take our share of the $10+ Billion dollars that the senators propose. BTW, if you want to finish cleaning it up, we've only been waiting 65+ years.

    Thank you

    May 4, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |