The brother of one of 11 workers killed on the Deepwater Horizon rig last year went to our Nation’s Capitol and literally begged lawmakers to strengthen worker safety laws and increase oil company liability for such accidents. At a House Natural Resources Committee meeting, which heard mostly Republican criticism that the Obama administration is approving new drilling permits too slowly, Christopher Jones was one of the last speakers. Interestingly, this man was one of the few voices not calling for more drilling to be approved without delay. His was sort of like a voice in the wilderness, but what he was asking certainly makes sense and is badly needed. As expected, debate over stricter laws to govern drilling safety broke down along party lines.
In addition to asking for safety changes, Mr. Jones also wants the nearly century-old Death on the High Seas Act changed so victims’ families can sue the responsible companies for pain and suffering. That certainly seems like something that lawmakers – both Democrats and Republicans – should support. But due to the tremendous influence of big oil lobbyists, combined with the high prices of gasoline recently, it’s likely that the voices of persons like Mr. Jones will be ignored.
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