07/31/2010 - The Senate is poised to vote next week on legislation that would make companies liable for unlimited damages if they're responsible for an oil spill, and would overhaul the federal agency that oversees the offshore drilling industry.
Democratic Senate leaders planned to introduce the measures this week, as part of a scaled-back energy bill.
"Something is going to pass ... that tightens up the procedures," Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama said.
Democratic and Republican lawmakers have introduced dozens of oil-spill related bills since the Deepwater Horizon rig operated by BP exploded April 20 and sank, killing 11 workers and gushing oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Lawmakers feel pressured to pass at least some of those bills before the August recess.
"It affects too many people's lives," said Marilyn Heiman, director of the offshore energy reform project at the Pew Environment Group. "The longer we wait, the more this memory fades in people's minds, and we need to pass laws to make sure nothing like this happens again."
Read the full article, Congress Takes Up Legislative Proposals in Wake Of Spill on the Hattiesburg American Web site.
The Pew Environment Group’s offshore energy reform work is now a part of Pew’s Arctic Ocean Program.