Senator Carper Continues Efforts to Examine Liability Issues Surrounding Offshore Drilling
WASHINGTON – Today Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) participated in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s hearing on S.3305, the Big Oil Bailout Prevention Liability Act of 2010. In light of the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the hearing focused on the offshore oil and gas industry and examined the issue of liability.
"There is no finer place to be than at the Delaware coast. Our nation’s coasts are environmental and economic treasures that we cannot take for granted." said Sen. Carper. "Those who drill for oil and gas off our coasts have a responsibility to do so safely, and if they don’t, Congress has a responsibility to see that our laws appropriately assign liability where it is due."
The hearing is part of an ongoing effort by Congress to hold oil companies accountable for all costs associated with the spill and to learn how to prevent another catastrophic spill from happening again.
"Today’s hearing is an important step in helping Congress figure out what kinds of reforms are needed to make sure that liability for the offshore oil and gas industry holds responsible parties accountable for their actions," continued Sen. Carper.
Next week, Sen. Carper will hold a hearing to assess how much money the federal government has spent in responding to the oil spill, and how these expenses will be recouped. The hearing will also explore potential vulnerabilities of the current claims processes and the future viability of the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund. Planned witnesses include officials from BP, Transocean, National Pollution Funds Center, the White House, and the Government Accountability Office.
A copy of Sen. Carper’s opening statement as prepared for delivery follows:
"I want to thank the Chairman for holding this hearing today on Senator Bob Menendez’s bill, S. 3305, the Big Oil Bailout Prevention Liability Act of 2010. I look forward to the opportunity to take a closer look at liability issues associated with our nation’s offshore oil and gas industry.
"As I have mentioned before, my heart goes out to the folks impacted by this terrible accident – to the families of the eleven workers that died and those that were injured. And my heart also goes out to the thousands of workers, individuals and families in the Gulf of Mexico that depend on the Gulf’s waters and shores for their economic livelihood.
"As a member from a coastal state, I can say that I truly understand the importance of our shorelines to our local and national economies.
"Our oceans and shores give life to many, many industries: tourism and recreation, the fishing industry, transportation, construction, research and education, real estate, and many, many more. And so we must work to make sure that the laws that we have in place protect these critical industries from economic harm in a fair and real way.
"Today’s hearing is an important step in helping Congress figure out what kinds of reforms are needed to make sure that liability for the offshore oil and gas industry holds responsible parties accountable for their actions.
"I look forward to hearing from our witnesses today on how we might best go about reforming our liability laws for the industry, and what other reforms might be needed to better protect our businesses and our environment from suffering further damages in the wake of this terrible accident."