Schakowsky: Oil companies must pay for spills

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.

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