Markey: BP Should Face Unlimited Liability

Posted May 30, 2010 at 11:05am

Rep. Ed Markey voiced his support Sunday for a bill to retroactively lift BP’s liability cap for the Gulf Coast oil spill, as news spread that the company’s latest effort failed to stop the flow of oil.

“I do not believe that large energy companies should be able to escape having unlimited liability for the catastrophes which they create,” the Massachusetts Democrat said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” Markey added, “That’s something we’re going to have to pass in Congress, as well as a new innovative energy agenda for wind, solar, all-electric vehicles.”

Federal law caps BP’s liability for the spill, but not the cleanup, at $75 million. But several Democrats — including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) — have suggested that cap be lifted.

Markey, who is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, also emphasized BP’s lack of transparency in the weeks after the disaster and cautioned against trusting the company. BP, he said, has been lying or “incompetent.”

“Their focus was not completely on the livability of the gulf,” he said. “Their focus was on the liability of BP.”

Still, he expressed confidence that the relief wells — which BP estimates will be finished in August — will at the very least provide an end to the spill. But, he added, “to be honest, there still is no absolute guarantee.”

Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” presidential adviser Carol Browner said BP would “pay for all of the costs” of the disaster, emphasizing that “all means all.”

She said the government was “prepared for the worst” and called it “the biggest environmental disaster this country has ever faced.”

Browner added that the good news was there are “a lot of systems in place” for deal with oil drifting toward the Louisiana coastline.