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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Nelson calls for lifting liability cap on oil spills



ST. PETERSBURG -- Florida Sen. Bill Nelson announced Friday that he's trying again to pass a bill that would lift the current cap on liability for future oil spills like the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Nelson, D-Fla, joined U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, as well as a pair of marine scientists and a handful of environmental activists in a new conference at a waterfront park Friday to commemorate the third anniversary of the BP oil spill on Saturday and to call for a change in the liability law.

"We see in a spill like the BP spill the limits of liability quickly deplete our people's ability to find recompense," Nelson said.

Previous attempts to raise the liability cap have run into stiff opposition from oil companies and have gained no traction in Congress. Current law limits liability to $75 million, an amount set in 1990 as part of the Oil Pollution Act after the Exxon Valdez spill. The law says the company that owns the oil in any spill must pay for all cleanup costs, but the amount the company could be assessed in damages is capped at $75 million. BP has repeatedly said it would not seek protection under the $75 million cap.




[Last modified: Friday, April 19, 2013 4:55pm]


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