5/12/2010

Obama wants retroactive law to deal with oil spill

Don't these guys get that there are limits to the government's power?

[White House energy adviser Carol Browner] said the White House believes the legislation could apply retroactively. Democratic lawmakers have cited the Superfund legislation as an example of a law enacted to cleanup toxic waste dumps and recover the expenses from the responsible parties.

Jeff Liebman, acting deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, said the administration wants to pass the legislation in the next few weeks. Lawmakers are looking for a legislative vehicle to attach it to.

The White House proposal would also:

--Raise from 8 cents per barrel to 9 cents per barrel an excise tax paid by oil companies to finance an Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, beginning this year.

--Increase allowable per-incident expenditures from the fund to $1.5 billion, from $1 billion now. Already, the Coast Guard has tapped some $100 million from the fund, although the administration hopes to make BP repay the money.

--Give $2 billion to the Food and Drug Administration to monitor seafood safety in the Gulf.

--Give $29 million to the Interior secretary for studies related to the safety of offshore drilling. The bill would also give the Minerals Management Service more time to review and approve oil and gas leasing plans. President Barack Obama, who has proposed a limited expansion of offshore drilling, has said no new leases will be allowed until Interior Secretary Ken Salazar completes a study of what new safety precautions are needed.

--Provide up to 26 weeks of benefits to self-employed workers and other workers ineligible for regular unemployment compensation in the Gulf.

--Make people effected by the spill eligible for food stamps, which are issued by county welfare offices and can be redeemed for food purchases. . . .

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4 Comments:

OpenID Adam Smith said...

Retroactive law is accepted in the U.S. in very narrow cases. But to raise a liability cap from $75 million to $10 billion--i.e. more than one hundred fold--retroactively seems as unjust as it gets in terms of law. That explains why Obama supports it.

5/12/2010 9:59 PM  
Blogger Paul_In_Houston said...

Retroactive law is accepted in the U.S. in very narrow cases.

So, has Article 1, Section 9, ( 3: No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed. ) of the Constitution been repealed?

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5/12/2010 11:39 PM  
Blogger Raven Lunatic said...

@Paul: That only matters when the government decides it's going to honor it's own governing documents.

5/13/2010 1:19 AM  
OpenID Adam Smith said...

So, has Article 1, Section 9, ( 3: No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed. ) of the Constitution been repealed?

No it hasn't. But for example, sex offender registries set up ex post crime have survived an ex post challenge in the Supreme Court. The logic was that the registries dealt with civil law, not punishment. Stevens, Ginsburg and Breyer dissented. But again, these are narrow cases. To raise a liability cap by more than one hundred fold ex post is the same as making all liability caps irrelevant.

5/13/2010 7:43 PM  

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