With the latest estimates indicating 25,000 to 30,000 barrels of oil are pouring into the Gulf of Mexico every day, we simultaneously must be concerned about stopping the leak, limiting the damage to natural resources of the Gulf states, and addressing the loss of people's jobs and the dislocations resulting from the catastrophe. Since the catastrophe began, we've all been concerned about the long-term economic livelihood of the 200,000 people employed by Gulf Coast fishing, the millions of people employed in the tourism industry, and all Americans who rely on the Gulf of Mexico for economic livelihood.
BP has said we should take its word that it will pay for all "legitimate claims" including those over the legal limit of $75 million. That sounds good, but it doesn't satisfy me, especially given BP's decades-long record of flagrantly disregarding safety and environmental rules in ways that are deadly and dangerous. In 2005, a fire and explosion at BP's Texas City refinery resulted in the deaths of 15 people and injuries to more than 150. In 2006, there was a 200,000 gallon spill in BP's Prudhoe Bay. In 2008 and 2009, there were four explosions along the Alaska pipeline due to corrosion. And the Gulf spill has shown BP was not prepared for this event.
BP's word is not enough. Congress needs to pass my legislation to ensure that BP is liable -- by law -- for all economic damages caused by the spill.