As Americans grew more furious and frustrated over the five-week failure to, as President Obama put it, “plug the damn hole” in the Gulf of Mexico, Bernie worked on ways to hold BP accountable and lessen the likelihood of more massive spills. On Thursday, he introduced a bill to reinstate an offshore drilling ban and make auto manufacturers build cars that get better mileage. To watch an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, click here.
Fuel Efficiency Linking his legislation to the BP disaster, Bernie said increased fuel efficiency will save consumers money, help the environment and reduce reliance on oil from risky offshore drilling. Enforcing fuel standards already in place would cut the cost of gas by $1 a gallon by 2030. Under Bernie’s bill, the savings would go to $1.43 a gallon while reducing vehicle emissions and lowering greenhouse-gas pollution. Sanders’ proposal would bring the U.S. up to par with China, Japan and nations in Europe that already have more aggressive standards. To read the Clean Coasts and Efficient Cars Act, click here.
The Green Lining “The alternative to continuing to risk catastrophe from offshore drilling is a bold and aggressive move to energy efficiency and sustainable energy,” the chairman of the Senate green jobs subcommittee wrote in a newspaper column. “If, as a nation, we are prepared to take bold action in energy efficiency, public transportation, advanced vehicle technologies, solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal, we can transform our energy system, clean up our environment, and create millions of new jobs in the process.” To read Bernie’s column, click here.
A Drilling Ban In addition to stronger fuel standards, the bill also would reinstate a moratorium that lapsed in 2008 on drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. In the aftermath of the April 20 blowout at the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, Bernie asked Interior Secretary Ken Salazar about the costs vs. the benefits of offshore drilling. Opening U.S. coasts to drilling would increase supply enough by 2030 to shave just 3-cents off the cost of a gallon of gas, according to government estimates. “Is 3-cents-a-gallon in the year 2030 worth the potential risk of another disaster like this?” Bernie asked. To watch, click here.
Make BP Pay At a Senate energy committee hearing on Tuesday, Bernie said Congress should lift a $75 million cap on oil company liability for economic losses. With BP first quarter profits topping $5 billion at a time of record national deficits “it is beyond comprehension that the taxpayers of this country should be asked to pay one nickel,” he said. When a top Justice Department official testified that BP had pledged to pay all claims, Bernie was blunt. “You may be the last person in America who trusts or believes what BP says,” he said. To watch them tangle, click here.