JONATHAN CHAIT AUGUST 4, 2010
Congress is fighting over whether to lift the cap on oil liability, making oil companies completely responsible for damages caused by their spill, or whether to continue having the government subsidize oil companies by covering damages above $75 million. The Heritage Foundation thinks the free market is too unfair to oil companies, and thinks the people are with them:
Last night after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) pulled his oil spill response bill, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) told reporters: “The key question is, whose side are you on? Are you on the side of Big Oil, or are you on the side of citizens in coastal communities?” Menendez does not represent any constituents who live on the Gulf Coast, so we should forgive him for not knowing that thousands of Gulf residents recently packed the Louisiana Cajundome to protest President Barack Obama’s oil drilling ban, a policy reinforced by punitive regulations in Reid’s oil spill legislation. If Menendez wants to know how actual “citizens in coastal communities” feel about oil he should pick up a copy of Lafayette’s Daily Advertiser where Louisiana Oil & Gas Association President Don Briggs recently wrote:
"There remains a public sentiment and misconception that companies operating the Gulf of Mexico are comprised of large transnational conglomerates, or “Big Oil” companies. This could not be further from the truth..."
Did you follow that? Heritage is saying that the pulse of the citizenry is reflect by the President of the Louisiana Oil & Gas Association.
In that spirit, I think Heritage has it all wrong about issues like, oh, cap and trade. Americans are very interested in reducing carbon emissions. Let me pick out one American at random. You there, ma'am. What's your name? Frances Beineke? You just happen to be president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, you say? Huh. What are the odds. Anyway, your thoughts on cap and trade?
In the past year, I traveled the country to help build momentum for national climate legislation, and the people I talked to -- from clean energy entrepreneurs in Cleveland to labor organizers in Chicago, from national security experts in Georgia to religious leaders in New York -- all believe that building a clean, sustainable energy future will unleashing enormous opportunities for Americans.
So, there you have it. Regular Americans like Frances Beineke support cap and trade.