WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., spent Wednesday pushing two pieces of legislation related to the oil crisis in the Gulf. Oil has been gushing into the Gulf of Mexico since April 20, when the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded killing 11 workers.
One bill crafted by Vitter would instruct the U.S. Interior secretary to renegotiate with the rig operator, BP, any payment above and beyond the $75 million in economic damages cap. Vitter said his bill should be immediately adopted and not wait for Congress to amend the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, which caps economic damages caused by the leak at $75 million.
Vitter also held a news conference to talk about an amendment that he has pending that would prevent the Oil Liability Trust Fund from being used to offset federal spending. The trust fund is used to pay for damages caused by an oil spill. The government then seeks to get the money from responsible parties. The U.S. Senate is considering raising the $1.6 billion fund by $15 billion over the next decade through the hike of an 8 cents per barrel tax on oil companies. The increase would be to 41 cents per barrel.