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SeaScum Rep. Stupak Dithers: Let’s Not Punish BP

SeaScum: like pondscum, but bigger! As big as the whole Gulf of Mexico!

Today’s SeaScum of the Day proves that stupid statements regarding Oilpocalypse can be found on both sides of the aisle. British Petroleum’s liability might be limited to $75 million, thanks to the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. Or it might increase. Or it might not, if Democratic Representative Bart Stupak (MI-01) has his way.

Because you can’t spell "Oilpocalypse Clusterf*ck" without "Stupak".

The Oil Pollution Act of 1990, passed in the aftermath of the Exxon Valdez spill when $75 million was a lot of money, makes a polluter — not taxpayers — pay for its mess. But liability for damages is capped at $75 million. BP probably is liable for all cleanup costs (e.g., payments to hazmat workers); the Oil Pollution Act may limit is liability for damages (e.g., payments to shrimpers) to $75 million. Note emphasis, because Oilpocalypse could be a legal clusterf*ck of the highest order.

Democratic leaders are moving fast to increase liability from $75M to $10 billion. The House version of the Big Oil Bailout Prevention Act of 2010 is sponsored by Democrats Rush Holt (NJ), Paul Hodes (NH), Artur Davis (AL), Jay Inslee (WA), and several Florida members. Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants to move quickly on it, possibly by attaching it to legislation extending expiring tax breaks. The Senate’s bill will be retroactive to cover Oilpocalypse. And the White House strongly supports Congress’ efforts.

Along comes Bart Stupak to hesitate, going on Fox News (of all places) to say:

Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), who chairs the Energy and Commerce oversight subcommittee, said Wednesday that the cap should not be raised just to punish BP.

"Should we look at it? Yes. Should we discuss it? I don’t know if you can retroactively go back and change it — punish, if you will, BP.

Let’s not punish BP, Representative Stupak. Let’s not require their oil-drenched souls to disgorge more than $75 million to compensate the shrimpers and the oyster farmers and the hotels and all the people in four states who depend on the Gulf of Mexico for a living. Let’s not even talk about the morality of caring for the creatures great and small, sea turtles, whales, dolphins, and brown pelicans made by a Creator. Some people should be punished for their sins, but not British Petroleum.

For caring so much about BP that you don’t want to see it punished, you get the SeaScum of the Day award, Rep. Stupak. Have a glass of chocolate milk.

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