(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) released the following statement after the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved S. 3305, The Big Oil Bailout Prevention Act of 2010, to lift the $75 million liability cap on oil polluters like BP.  Senator Murray is a co-sponsor of this legislation and has spoken on the Senate floor urging passage.

“I am pleased that today the Senate moved one step closer to protecting Washington state taxpayers and holding BP accountable for the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

“I co-sponsored the Big Oil Bailout Prevention Act because, to me, it is clear that the taxpayers should not bear the burden of big oil’s mistakes.  To me, this is an issue of fairness.  If an oil company causes a spill, they should be the one to pay to clean it up.

“And it is important to pass this legislation to make sure BP keeps their word to cover the costs associated with this disaster. As a Senator from the Pacific Northwest, I have seen first-hand with the Exxon Valdez oil spill what happens when big oil is allowed to make promises and not required to take action. When the Exxon Valdez oil spill happened in 1989, I remember that company assuring the public that the economic and environmental damage would be paid for. And then I remember them fighting tooth and nail to deny fishermen and families the compensation they were due.

“Republicans have already blocked similar legislation every time we have brought it up – now four times.  I can only hope that the next time we try to pass this important legislation the outcome will be different.

“I am extremely disappointed that Republicans today blocked another bill I cosponsored, Senator Shaheen’s bill (S. 3462) to provide subpoena power to the panel charged with investigating the cause of the BP oil spill, the National Commission on the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

“We cannot forget the workers who were killed and injured in this tragedy, and we must do them justice by determining what caused the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon.  We need to learn the lessons of this disaster to make sure that every worker is treated properly and protected from harm. And allowing the Commission to force BP to turn over files related to the disaster is the way to do that.

“After this latest example of Republican obstruction, it is clear who is on the side of families, workers, and coastal businesses, and who is on the side of big oil company profits.”