Murkowski Backs BP Bailout

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Democrats this afternoon attempted to bring up their Big Oil Bailout Prevention Act, a measure that would raise the liability cap for major spills like that currently underway in the Gulf to $10 billion. Under the current law, BP could be on the hook for only $75 million total for the spill—which is far, far less than this spill is going to cost.

Even a $10 billion cap could still be too low; some analysts predict that the total cost of the BP spill could hit $14 billion. Raising the cap, one might think, would be a popular move for Congress. It would both force BP to pay up all it owes to the Gulf Coast, and also ensure that any companies that embark on risky drilling ventures do a better job of ensuring safety and adequate clean-up plans. BP could surely afford to pay the full costs; after all, the company pulled in $5.6 billion in profits in just the first quarter of this year. But Republicans objected to the move.

The block was led by Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski who valiantly stood up for the rights of oil companies, big and small, to dump oil into our waterways with little fear of liability:

The reason I stand and object at this point in time is I don’t believe that taking the amount of the cap, if you will, the liability cap from $75 million, where it currently is, to $10 billion in strict liability, 133 times the size of the current strict liability limit, is where we need to be right now.

This has been named the “Big Oil Bailout Prevention Liability Act.” But I think you’ve got some irony here in that what this would do is give all of America’s offshore oil resources to the biggest of Big Oil. It would be impossible or perhaps close to impossible for any energy company that is smaller than the super majors, smaller than the national oil companies, to operate in the OCS. $10 billion in strict liability would preclude their ability to obtain financing, to obtain the bonds or insurance for any exploration, and look at who is producing in the offshore? It’s the independents. They produce two-thirds of natural gas, one-third of the oil.

Yep, just sticking up for the little guys.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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