The phone rang yesterday with Senator Ben Nelson's press guy on the other end of the phone looking for you know who. It seems the senator happened to read my blog about lack of response from elected representatives recently. If you recall, I railed a bit on Ben Nelson, Mike Johanns, and Adrian Smith for ducking my request for information when it came to where they stand on oil spill liability cap legislation. Yesterday through Ben's press guy, I got a nice apology for the delay in response, and Jim passed along the senators view on my original question and now you will find out too...
There is only one problem, I really don't have a clue where Ben stands on oil cap liability legislation yet. Now the press guy Jim I spoke to yesterday was sincere when he said the Senator is studying the issue and is commited to being sure taxpayers don't have to pay the freight. While I'm pleased the senator doesn't want taxpayers to pick up the tab, I still want to know how much our elected reps think business should be held accountable for through legislation.
So I still wonder where Ben, Mike, and Adrian stand, but at least I heard back from Ben with the kind of answer I was really expecting in the first place. To be fair, these guys get a ton of mail and have a full plate of things to work on so my query could easily get lost in the shuffle.
What I wanted to hear was that our representatives in Washington think a $75 million maximum cap for liability for oil spills isn't enough. Unfortunately, the official position so far from all these guys is there is no official position. At least Ben is studying the issue.
A final note, a fellow named Dan Hill from Grand Island has announced he is challenging Adrian Smith running as a conservative independent. His statement about Congressman Smith was that he is timid and a follower. This type of campaign could very well be effective in a year when there is a large popular sentiment to vote out incumbents of any party. Read about Dan here... http://www.1011now.com/political/headlines/98366939.html
Update... I guess I caught someones attention on this topic as I got a call from Senator Johanns office this morning shortly after I posted todays blog. I had a very pleasant conversation with the senators press secretary who corrected my comment where I mentioned industrial accident liability as I originally posted (corrected in blog above) instead of oil spill liability. He also passed on Senator Johanns thoughts... Officially, there is still no official position, but the senator expresses concern about the balance of liability vs business sustainability. I was reminded that any legislation would not be retroactive, but how much is the right amount going forward is being debated. Some liability caps mentioned were in the $10 to $20 billion range, but that some form of liability based on revenues would likely be incorporated. The senators guy Chris Hunt provided a comprehensive response showing in-depth understanding of the issue.
Still waiting on Mr. Smith