Lisa Murkowski (R-Big Oil) Blocks Bill To Raise Liability Cap

This brief overview above by Keith Olbermann the other night, followed by an interesting piece by Ezra Klein (seen in it's entirety here). Zach Roth
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This brief overview above by Keith Olbermann the other night, followed by an interesting piece by Ezra Klein (seen in it's entirety here).

Zach Roth at TPMMuckraker gives a good summation of another shameless Republican in the pocket of big oil.

Even in a Washington as dominated by corporate money as today's, it's not often that you see a lawmaker side with financial backers over the public interest as brazenly as Alaska's senior senator did yesterday.

In the wake of last month's catastrophic Gulf Coast oil spill, Sen. Lisa Murkowski blocked a bill that would have raised the maximum liability for oil companies after a spill from a paltry $75 million to $10 billion. The Republican lawmaker said the bill, introduced by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), would have unfairly hurt smaller oil companies by raising the costs of oil production. The legislation is "not where we need to be right now" she said.

Murkowski's move came just hours after Washington's top oil lobby, the American Petroleum Institute (API) expressed vociferous opposition to raising the cap. It argued that doing so would "threaten the viability of deep-water operations, significantly reduce U.S. domestic oil production and harm U.S. energy security." API's membership includes large oil companies like ExxonMobil and BP America, as well as smaller ones.

The Senate Democrats have upped Murkowski's remarks to YouTube for wider viewing, calling her move "inexplicable".

Inexplicable perhaps if one had no knowledge of Murkowski's track-record of cheerleading for big oil. Here's a somewhat notorious example from a Senate Energy Committee on Offshore Production hearing last November. The "Rainey" mentioned below was David Rainey, Vice President, Gulf of Mexico Exploration for BP America Inc who had just spoken about the BP's tremendous safety record in deepwater offshore drilling in the Gulf.

Senator MURKOWSKI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you all for your testimony this morning.

Mr. Rainey, I appreciate you stating for the record that the oil and gas industry is high-tech. For people who don’t know about Perdido and about what is occurring at Liberty, it is nothing short of phenomenal to think that we can be exploring and producing in the depths that you’re talking about, 35,000 feet is the record, but what’s going on at Perdido at 8,000 feet, 200 miles offshore, tapping into things in a 30-mile radius. I had an opportunity to see what Shell is doing with the 4-D seismic technology, and it’s better than Disneyland, in terms of how you can take technologies and go after a resource that is thousands of years old, and do so in an environmentally sound way. So, I commend you for the efforts that have been made to really play out the technologies so that you’re able to gain the resource while at the same time working to care for the environment.

Yeah, Disneyland.

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