Statement of Tyson Slocum, Director, Public Citizen’s Energy Program
The Obama administration’s announcement today to expand offshore oil drilling is a terrible idea: It won’t lower oil or gas prices, and it puts taxpayers on the hook for accidents.
The last time the president made such an announcement, the BP disaster occurred two weeks later. We all saw how that ended. Obama should not be laying the groundwork for history to repeat itself.
Current law caps accidental spill liability at $75 million, far below what actual spill damages would likely be. This translates into a huge subsidy for the industry and puts the American people on the hook.
Congress has yet to pass reforms in the wake of that disaster – including raising oil companies’ spill liability from the current $75 million cap.
Opening new areas to drilling while failing to hold oil companies accountable for fleecing taxpayers on existing drilling leases is unfair. Obama should know better than to hold Big Oil’s support above Main Street’s interests.