Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) has been fighting aggressively to defend the oil industry even as BP’s oil disaster gets worse and worse by the day. Yesterday, Vitter blasted an e-mail attacking his Democratic opponent this November, Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-LA), for having the audacity to point out that unregulated free-market policies have allowed the “oil industry to ruin our wetlands.”
Also on Monday, Vitter sent yet another letter to the Obama administration requesting a “quick end” to the “six-month ban on drilling in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.” The moratorium was issued to allow federal authorities to investigate the problems at deepwater drilling platforms and to propose new regulations. Indeed, deepwater drilling platforms like BP’s Atlantis platform in the Gulf of Mexico have been cited for “disturbing reports” of safety lapses.
Nevertheless, Vitter wrote that any moratorium on deepwater drilling “will cost us more jobs and economic devastation than the oil spill itself“:
As I stated, there is no one more environmentally devastated by this oil disaster than the people of the Gulf Coast. It’s our coast, our marshes, and our way of life that is being impacted. However, despite the ongoing oil spill disaster, the great majority of Gulf Coast citizens feel strongly that the administration’s deepwater moratorium is a major mistake. Simply put, it will cost us more jobs and economic devastation than the oil spill itself.
Vitter, who has been bankrolled by over $783,835 from the oil and gas industry, has been a reliable ally for companies like BP. Shortly after BP’s spill this year, Vitter introduced a bill to limit an oil company’s liability to the amount of its profit in the last four quarters, or $150 million, whichever is greater. This is allegedly to protect small companies with small profits, but if a big company like BP happened have a bad year and made little or no profit, they would be responsible for only the $150 million. As The Daily Kingfish pointed out, this is exactly the case with Anadarko, the oil company which owns 25 percent of the lease in the Deepwater Horizon well.