Then, there is the issue of the liability cap which would be imposed upon the oil companies and related industries for their actions in causing future oil spill-related disasters as well as the BP spill.
Currently, that cap is 75 million dollars. BP exceeded that figure months ago. There are estimates that the overall costs could be in the tens of billions. However, BP is saying it won’t pay for claims due to the moratorium that exceed one hundred million dollars and there is a real question as to what BP will be willing to fork over should the damages exceed the 20 billion dollars it has committed to President Obama.
Others involved in the Deep Water Horizon rig’s construction, operation and safety are claiming that they are bound by the 75 million dollar cap.
So, exactly where does our relationship to the oil companies lay?
Louisiana through its political and business leaders is working along with the oil companies in trying to lift the moratorium ban. In fact, the oil companies were very involved with a big rally in Lafayette Louisiana last week where our politicians, Governor Bobby Jindal, business leaders and others stood hand-in-hand with the oil companies in pounding on the Obama administration urging it to take down that moratorium immediately.
Yet, these oil companies are the same guys who are seriously lobbying Congress since they want to cap the liability for the damages they might incur.
So, in essence, the oil companies are saying--don’t put a gag on our abilities to make money by drilling in the gulf, yet, don’t put a sword in our bellies should an incident occur.
Something will have to give as the US Congress is weighing legislation to deal with energy issues and the BP incident.
And, the issue of liability cap is already become a hot item in races such as David Vitter’s seat for the US Senate.
Ultimately, Louisiana elected officials and the rest of the US Congress will need to make a decision whether the oil companies are friends or foes on these real touchy issues and what type of relationship they want to have with the oil industry.
It will be a difficult line for some of our local elected officials to walk as they must stand hand-in-hand with the people who are suffering deeply by the BP spill and while they are requesting help from the oil industry to achieve the goal of “drill baby drill”.
by Stephen Sabludowsky, J.D., Publisher of Bayoubuzz.com