Washington, DC –
U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) today called for greater legal accountability by the oil companies in light of the ongoing BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. His comments came in response to a Judiciary Committee hearing entitled, ”
The Risky Business of Big Oil: Have Recent Court Decisions and Liability Caps Encouraged Irresponsible Corporate Behavior?”
“How we hold energy companies accountable – specifically companies granted a privilege to explore for oil off our coasts – is a question that permeates the crisis unfolding before our eyes in the Gulf of Mexico and along our Gulf Coast,”
said Senator Cardin, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“For far too long BP and other oil companies have systematically understated the risk of offshore drilling.
Higher liability caps and the ability of plaintiffs to act as watchdogs would help keep oil companies honest.
“Attorney General Holder’s announcement of a criminal investigation also served to reassure communities in the Gulf Coast region that the government was addressing this unprecedented catastrophe from every perspective.”
Senator Cardin, who also serves as chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Water and Wildlife Subcommittee, added:
“The irresponsible behavior of the oil companies has reinforced my belief that the entire Atlantic coast should be taken off the table permanently with respect to offshore drilling.
In Maryland, our environment is just too sensitive and it contributes too much to our economy to take such an enormous risk.
We are already seeing entire industries being brought to a standstill along the Gulf Coast and I am not confident an accurate estimation of the tremendous financial damage will be possible for years to come.”