Tester’s latest bill holds Big Oil accountable by closing loophole

Pollution Accountability Act stops oil giants from ‘cutting corners’ after oil spills

(U.S. SENATE) – As gas prices reach $4 per gallon, Senator Jon Tester today introduced legislation to “stop big oil companies from cutting corners at the expense of American communities,” and hold oil companies accountable for job-killing environmental disasters.

As states continue to suffer the economic consequences of BP’s disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, recent reports suggest the company may attempt to exploit a loophole in the law to avoid full responsibility for the disaster.

Under current law, a court can decide whether to fine a company based on the number of days of the spill, or based the number of barrels of oil that spilled.

Fines on the per-day basis could cost BP less than $3 million.  But if fined per barrel, BP could face fines up to $18 billion.

Tester’s one-page Pollution Accountability Act would close the loophole by simply adding the phrase “whichever amount is higher” to the Clean Water Act.

“Big Oil should never get to cut corners with a free pass if they’re responsible for economic and environmental ruin,” Tester said.  “Taxpayers are paying four bucks a gallon at the pump, and big oil companies are making billions in profits and refusing to take responsibility for their messes.  This legislation will hold those companies accountable for damage done to American jobs and to local economies.”

Tester said that a $3 million fine would fail to hold the company accountable, to force a change in corporate safety culture, or to help rebuild Gulf Coast communities, noting that BP has spent more than $2 million in just the past few months to lobby members of Congress.

BP reported $7.1 billion in profits last quarter. 

Tester’s Pollution Accountability Act is available on his website, HERE.