U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Evanston says the government should raise or eliminate the cap on oil-spill damage awards that now shield oil companies.

Speaking at a hearing in Chalmette, La., yesterday on the Deepwater Horizon spill, Schakowsky called the spill “a devastating reminder that the United States must implement a comprehensive energy strategy that weans our nation off of oil and spurs development of cleaner renewable sources like wind and solar power.”

“But as long as we are drilling, we must assure that all current laws are strictly enforced.,” she added. “I also believe that it is imperative that we raise or completely eliminate the cap on damages imposed on oil and gas companies, like BP, that cause environmental catastrophes. It is unconscionable that current law allows companies to make billions of dollars in profits, yet when an accident occurs the law protects them from paying for the damages they caused.”

The hearing of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations featured testimony from witnesses including family members of workers killed in the oil rig explosion and local business owners affected by the spill. Schakowsky and other subcommittee members also went on a Goast Guard flyover of the affected area.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Schakowsky’s only tool is a hammer and sees problems as nails

    First it’s the private healthcare industry that makes too much money and now oil companies.

    This is another populist attack on "big" companies by Schakowsky, looking for someone’s "a$$ to kick," as our good president publicly said yesterday.

    Schakowsky’s attack on private industries is irresponsible and naive because in this case by raising or eliminating the liability cap on oil companies it would make it much harder for the smaller oil companies to compete. BP already will pay billions in the oil spill.

    Schakowsky’s statement also comes on the heels of a Democrat proposal to QUINTIPLE the tax on offshore drilling. Guess what that would do – raise the cost of gasoline because oil companies will just pass off the extra cost to consumers.

    In addition to that, Obama’s 6-month moratorium on oil drilling and exploration IN THE U.S. has heaped added strain on local and national economies. That’s not to mention that about a dozen federal agencies are making slow, conflicting and confusing decisions in response to the Gulf oil spill.

    Someone should remind Schakowsky that it’s the federal government that is making too much money through borrowing (already in the trillions) and taxation. Why in April more than 400,000 new government jobs were created, compared to only 40,000 in the private sector.

    It is unconscionable that the Democrats rammed through a trillion stimulus bill, the most expensive legislation in world history, with little to show for and which only kept government bloated for another year.

    There’s still a lot of competition in the private sector that gives us choices as consumers. Might I remind the long-term liberal Schakowsky that there is also competition in the public sector. The competition for Schakowsky is Republican Joel Pollack.

    I think I’ll go with Pollack. Hope and change – yes we can!


  2. Amazing

    1)  The environmental left pushed offshore drilling into such depths as the BP spill.  Nice work.

    2)  Who is the biggest BP campaign contribution recipient?  Obama.

    3)  Classless to politicize such a tragedy to push forward alternative energy ideologies (Cap and Tax???).

    4)  Shut up Barak and Jan, fix the damn problem and stop trying to take heads.

    5)  When do we as American taxpayers get the same retribution for the trillions this administration / Congress has spent and for the even worse piece of health care legislation that will eventually saddle all of us with more cost.

    6)  Your run has failed.  Your ideologies are weak.  Your politics are not popular; this is a center right country.  November will be here.  See ya.


  3. Drill, baby, drill

    Dan and Al have really gone off the deep end…

    BP gets permission from the Federal Government to drill in deep waters.  Unlike Canada, which has stricter regulations, US laws did not require a relief well to be part of the project.   BP and other oil companies claim it is safe, and that they will be able to clean up any spills.

    BP cuts corners on costs.  Rig blows up, 9  people killed.  ( Thanks for gutting OSHA, Republicans! )  Oil spills all over the place.

    Obama lets private sector try to clean up its own mess.  [  I disagree with his decision here – he should have nationalized BP and devoted all resources to cleanup, but then the Republican thugs would accuse him of socialism ]

    BP repeatedly downplays the magnitude of the spill, and is unable to get the situation under control, thus demonstrating once again the private industry is incapable of regulating itself.

    Dan and Al now expect the Obama administration to clean this up?  How?  Using Federal money, I assume, since Al doesn’t want oil companies to be taxed any more. 

    Why, my right wing friends,  should Obama fix up the spill?  Is it the role of the Federal government to fix problems?  Isn’t private enterprise more efficient?  

    It would seem that our right wing friends would not want the Federal Government interfering with the cleanup of the gulf.

      Where in the Constitution does it say that the Federal Government has the right to clean up oil spills?  What about limited government?  Enquiring Minds want to know.

     And a Dishonorable Mention goes to Governor Bobby "Kenneth the Page" Jindahl of Louisiana, who is now begging for Federal assistance – just a few months ago he was singing the praises of states’ rights and refusing Federal stimulus money.

    And then there is our friend Joel Pollak.  On April 2, he created Facebook page,  "Joel Pollak: Support for Offshore Drilling"

    I support President Obama’s decision to open offshore oil drilling to American firms. The decision will create thousands of jobs and expand domestic oil production so that we can become less dependent on foreign oil imports. The President has broken another campaign promise, but in this case it is a promise we should be happy to see him break……..

    Rep. Jan Schakowsky has criticized the President. I believe that criticism is misplaced,…..

     I give credit to Joel for leaving this embarrassing page up, and not trying to remove it.  ( Or maybe he just forgot).   President Obama  was wrong when he called for more offshore drilling.   Jan Schakowsky was right.  [ Of course,  Joel maybe right in the long run….cleaning up the Gulf will require lots of work…this sounds like a great job creation scheme to me, if we can get BP to pay for it.]

    It is amusing to hear the right wingers demanding more Federal Government intervention to protect the environment.

    1. Yes, BP gets permission to

      Yes, BP gets permission to drill in deep waters by the feds, and obviously those standards where highly lax, under BOTH adminstrations.

      Yest, BP gets permission to drill in deep water, but what about drilling in shallow water or in ANWAR where it is far safer and easier to mitigate a potential hazard at this?  Any comments my lefty friend?  Remember, why are we drilling at such depths?  Because of the huge left environmental push back to shallow and on land drilling.

      BP cuts corners on costs – over 700+ major violations.  What has your administration done in the 1.5 years since taking office to address this?  Nothing.

      Obama lets the private sector try to clean up the mess.  Nice excuse.  Your administration was basically late to the table, has no solutions, only demonizes industry and is more focused on treating this disaster (and nine lives lost) from a political view point.  Rhetoric but no action.

      It does not appear that we want the Feds to clean up the mess.  We want the Feds involved, becuase this is not an issue of private versus government.  This is a crisis and a disaster, and our government should be in place to readily address such a situation.  They are not.  The point rather is – with the feds dithering, what can big government really do well besides spend money? 

      Constitution and the "right to clean up" the spill.  That is ridiculous, I have no idea what the Constitution has to do with this disaster.

      States do have the right to turn down stimulus money, especially when it has been cited that this program has done nothing for the economy and basically has been a program put into place to reward cronies to the Dems.  Your assertion about Jindahl and once refusing dollars under completely different circumstances is weak, in fact, it is your parties talking point.  Take that to the November elections.

      And what about Obama’s decision to allow drilling at first?  And now the moritorium on drilling?  What a political gaff, what a walk back, what an embarrassement.  Again, a walk back for simple political and impression reasons.

      My friend, we disagree.  And that is absolutely fine.  But your guy, Obama, is taking some serious heat for his less than stellar response.  Blame can go around all over the place.  But the point you have to understand is this – this is not an issue of ideology and views.  This is a catastrophe that trumps any political vision or opportunity to exploit a crisis for political gain (Rahm).  This is a part of our country that is in serious need of the Fed’s intervention.  This is the role of the government to assist at times of disaster, not a time for the government to exploit and thus push an agenda based on a crisis.

      Obama is in trouble on this.  You know it, I know it and most importantly the country knows it.  Simply, rhetoric is one thing, but action is another.  And there has been no action. 

      Thank you for the discussion, all the best.

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