U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) issued the following statement following President Obama's televised address from the Oval Office on the Deepwater Horizon Spill:
"The tragic spill in the Gulf Coast is the result of BP's corporate recklessness and years of deregulation. President Obama made it clear tonight that the federal government will take unprecedented steps to clean-up the spill, hold BP accountable, and ensure that a tragedy of this magnitude does not occur again.
"When he meets with BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward, President Obama must ensure that BP commits to establishing a special account -- administered by an independent trustee -- that will be used to pay economic damages and clean-up costs. Taxpayers should not be on the hook for BP's irresponsibility.
"I'm encouraged that President Obama is taking steps to prevent this sort of environmental and economic disaster from happening again. After eight years of two oil men in the White House, we need to end the cozy relationship between the oil industry and the regulators who are supposed to monitor it. We must also invest in comprehensive clean energy legislation to break our dependence from foreign oil and replace it with clean energy technology manufactured in Ohio and across the country."
Yesterday, Brown joined a group of 55 Senators to call for BP PLC CEO Tony Hayward to establish a special account to be used for the payment of economic damages and clean-up costs caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster. The letter, led by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), calls for the fund to be administered by an independent trustee. The fund does not limit BP's liability but acts as an act of good faith and ensures that BP will not evade responsibility for the disaster.
Brown has been working to protect taxpayers from paying for the disaster and raising the cap in liabilityso that BP takes responsibility. The Big Oil Bailout Prevention Liability Act would ensure that Big Oil polluters, not taxpayers or small businesses, pay for oil spills. The Big Oil Bailout Prevention Trust Fund Act (S. 3306) would eliminate the $1 billion per incident cap on claims against the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund and allow community responders to access the fund for preparation and mitigation up front, rather than waiting for reimbursement later. The bill would also eliminate the $500 million cap on liability for natural resources damages.