Monday, May 17, 2010

All better now

You may have heard that the Gulf oil spill was an awful environmental disaster, an ecological nightmare, the equivalent of two Exxon Valdezes a week, is 10 times worse than the original 5 time worse than estimate of the original catastrophic spill estimate, is worse than even pessimistic government estimates, and entered the Gulf Loop current and was threatening reefs and the Florida Keys.

But that was before BP CEO Tony Hayward said the spill was "relatively tiny" compared to the "very big ocean" and that they had finally got some kind of partial stopgap measure on the leak to stop it from dumping all that oil into the water. So... all better now. Which is why our elected betters can finally start dealing with the important matters: like making sure the oil industry doesn't have to pay for cleaning up all that oil they spilled.
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.
Ah yes, the old "It'll hurt small business" gambit. I think every law that had to do with any kind of business anywhere in the last hundred years has been attacked as "hurting small business." What a coincidence.

Thankfully Murkowski was there to tell us that this wasn't the time to be talking about an issue like raising liability caps on offshore drilling. No, we need not discuss liability for giant offshore drilling accidents right in the middle of a giant offshore drilling accident. That just doesn't make sense.

So, dear readers, in case you were wondering if there was a limit to which fat stacks of corporate cash and subservience to your corporate masters could ever be overridden by common sense, large scale disasters, or a basic sense of shame; no there isn't. Not even during the height of a crisis, knowing that media attention will be on you. Can you blame her? How else is she going to earn that high paying lobbying job for the API two seconds after she retires? Not by employing any shred of integrity during a Senate career, that's for sure.

No comments: