Representative Maffei today announced he is co-sponsoring legislation to ensure BP is held accountable not only for costs associated with cleaning up the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf, but additionally responsible economic damage to the region. The spill will cause great economic damage to the fishing industry, the tourism industry, small businesses, and taxpayers.
Representative Maffei said: "The Gulf region has seen so much hardship in the past five years, and the already fragile regional economy is seriously threatened by this oil spill. We cannot, and will not, allow BP to dodge the financial ramifications of this disaster. BP, not tax payers, will be responsible for paying for the clean up and reimbursing lost income to businesses and industry in the Gulf."
That is why Representative Maffei is co-sponsoring Big Oil Bailout Prevention Act (H.R. 5214). This legislation would raise the liability cap for offshore oil well spills from $75 million to $10 billion. It eliminates the $1 billion per incident cap on claims against the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund and would allow community responders to access the fund for preparation and mitigation up front, rather than waiting for reimbursement later.
H.R. 5214 would allow claimants to collect from future revenues of the fund, with interest, if damages claims exceed the amount in the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund (currently $1.6 billion). It would also eliminate the $500 million cap on natural resources damages. Finally, H.R. 5214 makes these provisions retroactive as permitted by environmental law precedent, so that the Deepwater Horizon incident would be covered under the bill.