In a seemingly never-ending parade of radio, television, print and web ads, in addition to numerous official statements, BP officials have repeatedly insisted that the company intends to make the Gulf Coast and its residents "whole" again. In the latest such PR blitz, BP employee and New Orleans native Iris Cross reiterates that the company will do everything it has to do in order to "make this right."
But yesterday in federal court, an attorney for the oil giant sent shockwaves throughout the Gulf region by suggesting that BP may seek shelter under the $75 million liability cap polluters can invoke under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990.
The Oil Pollution Act, introduced by Walter B. Jones, Sr., Democrat North Carolina following the Exxon Valdez disaster, limits the amount of damages oil companies have to pay when they have a major spill. After the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the US Senate briefly entertained a retroactive raising of the cap from $75 million to $10 billion, but that bill went nowhere because after all oil campaign contributions trump the well being of the American people any day.