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Senate Proceeding on May 26th, 2010 :: 5:42:55 to 5:52:25
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Ron Wyden

5:42:47 to 5:43:07( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: at the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from new jersey, mr. mendez, for himself and others proposes amendment numbered 4289 to amendment 4174. mr. mendez: i ask unanimous consent that further waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. menendez: mr. president, the amendment that i rise to

Ron Wyden

5:42:55 to 5:52:25( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Ron Wyden

Ron Wyden

5:43:08 to 5:43:30( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: offer today as a second degree will do something that i and several of my colleagues have been seeking to do for the last two weeks or so, and that is to make absolutely certain that big oil polluters may for oil spills and not the taxpayers. not fishermen, not small

Ron Wyden

5:43:31 to 5:43:52( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: business owners, not coastal communities, not states, not municipalities. this amendment would eliminate the artificially low liability cap that is currently in place, a cap that is currently set at $75 million. which means that companies like

Ron Wyden

5:43:53 to 5:44:13( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: b.p. are only on the hook legally for less than one day's profits. b.p. made nearly $6 billion in three months of this year in profits, not proceeds -- profits. and that comes out to about $94

Ron Wyden

5:44:14 to 5:44:34( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: million a sohe present liability cap, the cap to be responsible for all the cleanup, all of the efforts, but to the extent that you have damaged shrimp fishermen, commercial michiganermen, to the extent that you have damaged coastal communities, to all of that extent, there's a $75 million limit.

Ron Wyden

5:44:35 to 5:44:57( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: well, if we let that stand, that would be less than one day's profit for b.p. so we want to make sure that they are legally on the hook and that their spill, which wreaks complete economic devastation on small business and local communities in our environment that could very well last for

Ron Wyden

5:44:58 to 5:45:19( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: years to come, that it does not allow them to getway with not being fully responsible. now, i believe yesterday we had a big day here in the senate in this debate about liability caps for oil cpanies that spill. first, the administration finally clarified. it h originally said we believe the cap should be lied.

Ron Wyden

5:45:20 to 5:45:41( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: but it had not quantified as to what that should be. and yesterday the administration clarified its position to say that it will support unlimited liability for damages caused by future spills in deepwaters. then several of my republican colleagues came to the floor and

Ron Wyden

5:45:42 to 5:46:02( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: support unlimited liability for damages caused by this particularpill, not a broader. i think that's progress. and we certainly embrace the fact that for this and any potential future spill, there should be unlimited damages. so from when i started this effort with several my

Ron Wyden

5:46:03 to 5:46:23( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: colleagues -- senator nelson, senator lautenberg, senator murray and others -- we have come from an opposition to lifting the cap to a determined amount to now having an understanding that unlimited liability certainly in a spill of this nature should in fact take place.

Ron Wyden

5:46:24 to 5:46:46( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: but we cannot depend on b.p.'s good word or b.p.'s statements. there is no consent judgment here. there is no written guarantee here. we need to make sure that those communities within the gulf and that we as a nation and as taxpayers do not have to pay for b.p. or any other responsible party.

Ron Wyden

5:46:47 to 5:47:07( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: so it's encouraging to see colleagues coming around to see the way that i and 20 senate cosponsors of my bill are supporting but we still have a bit of aways to go. we all should agree that all oil companies should pay for all damages caused by a spill from

Ron Wyden

5:47:08 to 5:47:28( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: offshore facilities. certainly if they're doing deepwater drilling, certainly if they create the risk and if that risk ultimately ends in damage, we should be able to universally agree that they should be responsible for the liability. but we should not depend upon doing that just when an oil

Ron Wyden

5:47:29 to 5:47:51( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: company makes statements that they promise to pay, not just when the company is so big that it can pay with a few weeks worth of profits. we need to make sure people whose livelihoods are ruined by an oil spill are protected no matter what. we need to ensure that big oil companies are held accountable no matter what. and that's why i'm offering this

Ron Wyden

5:47:52 to 5:48:16( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: amendment to remove the cap on liability completely so we can truly hold oil companies accountable for all of their potential damages. now, i've heard some people refer to this legislation or some people referring to keeping the oil companies responsible,

Ron Wyden

5:48:17 to 5:48:37( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: like b.p., as un-american. un-american to hold a multibillion-dollar corporation accountable for the very disaster that it created. i think it is un-american not to be able to pursue such a corporation for the purposes of holding them accountable for the disaster that they have created

Ron Wyden

5:48:38 to 5:48:59( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: to the economic well-being of commercial fishermen, shrimp fishermen, seafood processing plants, coastal communities, wetlands and a whole host of other consequences that we have here. this is a chance to show if we are going to stand up with big

Ron Wyden

5:49:00 to 5:49:21( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: oil or with small businesses, fisheries and coastal communities, whether we are going to stand up with multibillion-dollar corporations or with the taxpayers of this country so they have no liability whatsoever. i think the choice is pretty clear. i hope everyone in our chamber will do the right thing to hold

Ron Wyden

5:49:22 to 5:49:42( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: big oil accountable for the damages they have caused. and i hope our colleagues will join us in this effort. i'm really, truly pleased to see that there is a movement in this direction. i hope we can make it a bipartisan movement. i think the american people are seeing that regardless of what

Ron Wyden

5:49:43 to 5:50:04( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: b.p. ends up committing to pay or what they don't commit to pay because when they came before the energy committee and the executives were there and they were asked, what is all legitimate claims, they equivocated on a series of answers, wl, is this a legitimate claim, is this a legitimate claim, is this a

Ron Wyden

5:50:05 to 5:50:28( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: legitimate claim, they equivocated on all of that. and when the three different enties here -- b.p., transon or about arntion and halliburton -- transocean, and halliburton, all who may be responsible parties here, they all di the finger pointing at the other one. well, that does not give me a sense of security or a guarantee

Ron Wyden

5:50:29 to 5:50:49( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: that this enormous consequence to our environment and to our economy is going to be taken care of by the words of those who both shift blame and equivocate on their responsibility. i think we have clearly learned that there obviously is no such thing as a rig that is too safe to spill and there should be no legaliggle room for oil

Ron Wyden

5:50:50 to 5:51:11( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: companies that devastated coastal businesses and communities no or in the future. this spill, if nothing else, tragedy that it is, should serve as a rallying cry for holding big oil responsible for the damage it has caused. that's our choice.

Ron Wyden

5:51:12 to 5:51:32( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: that's our opportunity. and i would urge that that is the fierce urgency of now. as we look at that live feed of that oil gushing every day for now well over a month, it is our fiduciary duty to the taxpayers

Ron Wyden

5:51:33 to 5:51:55( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: of this country, it is our duty to the next generation of americans in this country to make sure that the company and companies that created this set of circumstances and this enormous damage are fully liable for it. and that is the opportunity we have by virtue of this second-degree amendment. i hope my colleagues will

Ron Wyden

5:51:56 to 5:52:12( Edit History Discussion )

Ron Wyden: embrace the opptunity and live up to those responsibilities. with that, and i observe the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk wi

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