Editorial: Who pays for the oil spills?

Published 9:25 am Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Why is it that profits are privatized while risks to the environment are collectivized?

In other words, is it fair that BP and its contractors can cause a spill that pollutes the Gulf of Mexico but the states along the Gulf and the federal government — our tax dollars — have to pay to clean it up?

Sure, BP has said it will help, too, but it is only obligated up to $75 million.

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So here’s the question put another way:

Is it fair that a Senate bill from Democrats to raise the liability cap for oil spill damages from $75 million to $10 billion have been blocked by the Republicans?

If the Republicans truly are against federal spending, then they should be in favor of the liability for oil spills.

It appears that when the fiscal discipline callings of the GOP collides with pals in the oil industry, the pals win out.

The collectivization of environmental risk can be seen and felt locally. Here’s the question put another wya:

Is it fair that the people of Albert Lea, Freeborn County, the Shell Rock River Watershed District and the state of Minnesota have to pay to clean up the damages to local waters left by Wilson & Co., Farmstead Foods and Farmland Foods?

Companies that pollute need to clean up their mess. We wish states and the federal government would reach the level of zero tolerance. We would like to pass on a clean planet to future generations.