LISTEN: Inhofe Comments on Barton BP Apology Remarks - Says We Must Hold BP's "Feet to the Fire"
June 17, 2010
Posted by: Matt Dempsey Matt_Dempsey@epw.senate.gov
Sen. Inhofe: Let me just share with you my thoughts. I’m no fan of BP, and I was listening as I was waiting to talk to you, and you were talking about their contributions to various funds and all that. BP has never been a very good friend of conservatives. In fact, they were actually behind the scenes with Kerry and Lieberman trying to do a cap-and-trade bill, trying to work out a deal where they’d be exempted. I’m just not a fan of BP. Now, how the President did this I have no…I probably wouldn’t have done it the same way. I want to make sure that BP is financially responsible for damage that they have done. Now, how he went about doing it, I was not in on that obviously, so I don’t know and quite frankly I’m not sure my friend Joe Barton said.
Fischer: Well, I think what Joe Barton was talking about is that the President essentially forced them…he informed them that they were going to put this 420 billion dollars in this escrow account. And I certainly agree with you with regard to BP, I mean, they essentially wrote that Kerry-Lieberman bill, their lobbyists, and it’s because they’re heavy into alternative sources of energy. So, I think they were looking for a big pay day.
Sen. Inhofe: Oh yea, they could benefit from that.
Fischer: Oh yea. But the thing that concerned me is the way the President went about this sort of forcing BP as a private corporation to cough up this money – no due process, no processing of these claims in court. You know, it’s one thing for BP as a private company to offer to settle these claims, and they’ve been pretty aggressive about doing that, but then to have our President just go and say, you know, we’re just going to take this money from you with no due process. I just kind of found that rather alarming.
Sen. Inhofe: Well, I want to be sure, Brian, that their feet are held to the fire. Now, they have said several times that they are going to be responsible for all of the damages. One of the things that I’ve done on the floor, because no one else is willing to do it, is object to the increase in the cap. Right now it does need to be increased, if you remember, there has been a lot of publicity about this having been set back during the Exxon Valdez days twenty years ago, it needs to be set up. But if you take it out completely, then you’re going to have…that would be the greatest boon for companies like BP and the five giants and the government run oil companies. The big difference here is that we’ve got to keep producing our resources. We have the largest recoverable reserves of oil and gas and coal in America, and Brian this would shock a lot of people who are listening to us – if we would take all of the inhibitions, all of the restrictions, the Democrats have put on our ability to export our own resources, we could be completely free of dependence on the Middle East, and be only North American dependent. Now, that doesn’t directly address the method they’re using to make sure that BP pays. Quite frankly, they’ve already said they’re willing to pay for everything and they’ve even talked about perhaps that could be bankruptcy. So I don’t know – maybe the policy and the way they did it was wrong, but…you know, I’ve not been a friend of BP’s for a long period of time. In fact, on the Senate Floor the other day this week, I said you know all these Democrats are saying the Republicans are products of Big Oil and all that, when Big Oil, the biggest oil, like BP – they pour their money into Democrat campaigns not Republican campaigns.
Fischer: Well, in fact, they gave more money to President Obama than any other candidate over the last twenty years.
Sen. Inhofe: That’s true, and that’s for President, but back when he was running in ’04 for the Senate for the first time, they gave him three times as much contributions as they gave my campaign, which you know wasn’t even solicited. There’s such a misunderstanding on this. You get, right now, we have such a huge amount of resources we can spend, and all these cap-and-traders are trying to take away our ability to run this machine called America. And a handful of oil companies are with them, and they’re the ones that can benefit from this. Certainly, at the top of that list is BP. So, I don’t know, I might find a difference with you for the first time on this – I don’t know what he did as far as a shakedown’s concerned, I want to make sure BP pays for the damages they incurred. I think we’re finding out, and I’m kind of surprised at this, that there were some shortcuts taken that the other companies now, the other four of the five big companies, testified that they did not follow the same practices, and it would have precluded this from happening. That is yet to be seen.
Fischer: Well, and I think Halliburton was one of the ones. I guess there are these things called centralizers that they use to stabilize the well pipe, and Halliburton was recommending that BP use twenty-one of those, and BP says no we can do it with six.
Sen. Inhofe: That’s what I heard.
Fischer: And that was one of the contributing factors to the explosion. So Halliburton is the good guy in all of this, but you don’t hear about that in the mainstream media.
Sen. Inhofe: No, you wouldn’t hear that from this administration.
Fischer: No, you certainly won’t.
Sen. Inhofe: This thing is horrible down there. The main concern I have is that I knew…well, twenty years ago I went up to Exxon Valdez right after that happened, and up there the far left environmentalists were celebrating, they were cheering, they were popping the corks. And I said what in the world are you doing? And they said, well we are going to parlay this into stopping production on the North Slope. I said, wait a minute, this is not a production accident, this is a transportation accident. And if you stop our ability to provide…to develop our own resources that means we are going to have to transport more, and something like this could be greater to happen. They said we don’t care, we just want to stop them from drilling oil everywhere. And that’s the same thing that I see going on in the Gulf today. Can you draw, can anyone listening to us right now…if you can you call my office and tell me because I don’t believe it’s true, that there’s any relationship between the tragedy in the Gulf and promoting a cap-and-trade type of legislation. Well, there is none.