Month 5, Day 13: Too Big To Bail

Mary Landrieu, the Senator from Louisiana who is not Diaper Dave Vitter, said this, in conversation with Ed Schultz:

SCHULTZ: Are you for unlimited caps and liability?

LANDRIEU: I am for BP paying every single penny that they owe, and if we can raise caps without crashing the entire industry then I’m for it, but I’m not for putting people out of work.


Dear Senator Landrieu — I don’t know whether to be amused, appalled or outraged. In a recent interview with Ed Schultz, you said that you were in favor of raising the limit on liability caps…but not if it would “put people out of work.” Meaning, presumably, the people who work in the oil industry.

From which I infer that People Who Work In The Oil Industry are Special People — unlike those other, not-so-special, people who work in fishing, tourism, or any of the scores of other occupations that depend on the Gulf of Mexico. Because those people (the not-so-special ones) are losing their jobs right, left and center. And must I remind you that those people are your constituents, and they’re losing their jobs because British Petroleum and its contractors behaved with near-sociopathic disregard for the consequences of their actions.

If it’s really true that being held accountable for the economic damages of a giant environmental catastrophe would put B.P. out of business, why were they allowed to drill for oil off our coastline in the first place?

The Deepwater Horizon disaster must serve as a wake-up call to our nation: it is time to kick the fossil-fuel habit once and for all. An important part of this process is for Americans to learn that oil and coal are actually far more expensive than renewable sources — once we factor in the costs we’ve been ignoring for decades: cleanup, mitigation, liabilities, climate change.

If making BP pay its fair share of cleanup and liability costs for the Gulf spill will put BP out of business, good. There is no longer any reason why corporate malefactors should be coddled and protected from the economic consequences of their destructive irresponsibility.

Yours Sincerely,

Warren Senders

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