As the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil leak continues, Sen. Russ Feingold has been working on initiatives to not only hold BP accountable for the disaster while making the oil industry as a whole more accountable in the future. Sen. Feingold’s current efforts are focusing on ending the very cozy relationship between the federal government and oil companies, a relationship which has no doubt contributed to relaxed oversight and taxpayer-funded giveaways to the oil industry. Sen. Feingold issued a statement about his efforts:
“The catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico is causing incalculable damage to our environment as well as our economy. As the federal government works with the private sector to stop the leak and address the aftermath, Congress has the responsibility to look ahead and do what it takes to prevent this from happening again. This oil spill makes painfully clear how dangerous the cozy relationship between the federal government and powerful companies can be. Just as we saw with Wall Street recently, when the federal government gives in to powerful special interests by reducing protections and oversight, the American people pay a heavy price.”
Among the efforts Sen. Feingold is sponsoring or cosponsoring to hold BP accountable for the current Gulf oil spill, in addition to holding companies accountable to try to prevent future crises include:
- Making oil companies responsible for damage they cause
- Ending government giveaways to oil and gas companies
- Forcing oil companies to use the leases they currently have before receiving new leases through his “Use It or Lose It” bill
- Keeping big oil accountable for oil spills
In addition to his efforts to hold BP and other oil drillers more accountable, Sen. Feingold has also been a strong opponent of drilling for oil in the Great Lakes, having cosponsored the Great Lakes Water Protection Act, which sought to deny oil or gas drilling in any of the Great Lakes.