A Deal on Menendez Oil Spill Liability?
June 29, 2010
Posted by Matt Dempsey Matt_Dempsey@epw.senate.gov
In the News...
MORNING ENERGY EXCLUSIVE
June 29, 2010
By Coral Davenport
–Jim Inhofe, ranking Republican on Environment and Public Works and one of the oil industry’s best friends on the Hill, says he’s ready to make a deal with Dems on a spill liability bill. On Wednesday, EPW will mark up New Jersey Dem. Robert Menendez’ Big Oil Bailout Prevention Act, which would eliminate the $75 million limit on damages oil companies must pay in the case of a disaster like the one now unfolding in the Gulf. Menendez’ bill is the toughest of many oil liability cap measures now floating around the Hill – others would keep the cap but raise to up to $10 billion or $20 billion, and oil companies have been fighting hard against the prospect of unlimited liabilities. But Inhofe’s office said Monday that they could back Menendez’ bill – IF Dems add on an Inhofe amendment that would instead allow the President to set a liability cap on a case-by-case basis, using an Inhofe-provided set of guidelines.
“This could be a way to broker compromise,” Inhofe’s spokesman Matt Dempsey told Morning Energy. “We’ve got something that in the next 24 hours has the potential to be a big deal.” It also appears to have potential to be a political football. Liberal Dems are unlikely be comfortable letting Inhofe frame oil reg. guidelines, but Rs are likely to paint a rejection of the offer as partisan politics.