Chamber President Says His Group Will Find Way to Get Government to Share Cost of Gulf Coast Clean-Up

By Alex Pepper

May 28, 2010 1:27pm

ABC News’ Teddy Davis reports: The head of the United States Chamber of Commerce said Friday that his group is not yet lobbying against legislative efforts to raise BP’s liability cap, viewing the issue as not yet "ripe." He signaled, however, that his group would figure out a way to get the government to share in the cost of cleaning up the Gulf Coast. “It is generally not the practice of this country to change the laws after the game,” said Tom Donohue, the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “. . . Everybody is going to contribute to this clean up. We are all going to have to do it.  We are going to have to get the money from the government and from the companies and we will figure out a way to do that.” Donohue made his remarks during a roundtable with reporters sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor in Washington, D.C. The event came at a time when the BP liability cap is coming under increasing scrutiny. At present, BP’s liability bill is capped at $75 million. That cap could be lifted, however, if the company is found to have acted with gross negligence or to have broken rules that led to the spills. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told a Senate panel earlier this month that the Obama administration will hold BP and other companies "fully accountable" for cleanup of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico as well as for economic damages to businesses and residents. BP has pledged to pay economic damages in excess of the $75-million liability cap. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., believes that pledge does not go far enough and has introduced legislation which would raise the liability cap from $75 million to $10 billion. ABC News’ Alexander Pepper contributed to this report.

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