The Big Oil Company Bailout Prevention Act raises BP liability cap to $10 billion

Washington, DC - Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) introduced legislation today with Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ) that will hold British Petroleum accountable for the oil spill off the Gulf Coast. While BP has indicated they will be responsible for all clean-up costs, The Big Oil Company Bailout Prevention Act goes further to protect taxpayers from paying for effects of the spill.

Currently, the responsible party in an oil spill must pay for all the economic damages up to $75 million, including lost revenues from fishing and tourism, natural resources damages, or lost local tax revenues. This bill would raise the liability cap to $10 billion. It also eliminates the current $500 million cap on natural resource damages.

"With estimates that this could be the most costly oil spill in American history, taxpayers need to rest assured they will not foot the bill," Braley said. "While BP has promised to pay for all clean-up costs, we, in Congress, have an obligation to make sure they follow through, and also take responsibility for other economic damages. This legislation makes sure that if big oil companies are responsible for the disaster, big oil companies pay for the clean-up and damage."

The Big Oil Bailout Prevention Act also contains the following provisions:

  • It eliminates the $1 billion per incident cap on claims against the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund
    • Allows community responders to access the funds for preparation and mitigation up front, rather than waiting for reimbursement later.
  • If damage claims exceed the amount in the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund (currently $1.6 billion), it allows claimants to collect from future revenues, with interest.

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