Flashback: In 2000, Vitter Proposed Legislation To Reduce Criminal Liability Of Oil Companies For Spills
Priceless, can't find the link I found it onThis week, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Obama administration had opened criminal and civil investigations into the companies involved in the massive Gulf oil spill. Officials said they were looking into potential violations of the Oil Pollution Act [OPA] of 1990, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act, among other laws.
But if Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) had his way, BP and its partners would have been off the hook for violations of all but the weakest of these laws. In July 2000, when Vitter was in the House, he introduced a bill that would make penalties under the OPA “the exclusive criminal penalties” for oil spills:
(a) IN GENERAL- Notwithstanding any other provision or rule of law, sections 4301(c) and 4302 of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (Public Law 101-380; 104 Stat. 537) and the amendments made by those sections provide the exclusive criminal penalties for any action or activity that may arise or occur in connection with a discharge of oil or a hazardous substance referred to in section 311(b)(3) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1321(b)(3)).
Fortunately, the bill — which attracted only two cosponsors — never made it out of committee. If it had become law, BP and the other companies would be exempted from more stringent criminal penalties under the other environmental laws. It would also potentially exempt BP from any workplace safety violations on the rig or during the cleanup. LinkHere