After waiting a week to respond to the growing oil apocalypse off the coast of Louisiana, Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) exploited the disaster to call for new offshore drilling subsidies. The Deepwater Horizon rig deployed by BP to explore the Macondo Prospect exploded on April 20, killing 11 workers and beginning a flood of oil from a mile below the ocean surface that now threatens the entire Gulf Coast. Vitter failed to officially respond for an entire week, until he expressed condolences for the victims but then turned directly to a demand for American taxpayers to push oil subsidies to Louisiana:
As we move forward with the recovery process, I hope that the rest of the country will realize that our state needs to be fairly compensated for this burden through increased revenue sharing from offshore production.
Because of the 1990 Oil Pollution Act passed following the Exxon Valdez spill, BP will have to reimburse taxpayers for the cost of the government’s contribution to the response effort. Vitter is simply trying to exploit this tragedy to tie his state even more tightly to the fortunes of the deadly and destructive oil industry. Vitter is a long-time promoter of expanding offshore drilling, which is a central plank of his so-called “No-Cost Stimulus Act.”