I was listening to the Mark Levin radio show yesterday and as usually he was on one of his anti-Obama rants. Something he said caught my attention, however.
He said (as he always tends to do) that the President doesn't have the authority to compel BP to set up this escrow account for their liability in this oil spill. Well, I did some research and he's WRONG!
Oil Pollution Act (OPA)
Sect. 2706(b)(1) - Designation of trustees
(1) In general
The President, or the authorized representative of any State, Indian tribe, or foreign government, shall act on behalf of the public, Indian tribe, or foreign country as trustee of natural resources to present a claim for and to recover damages to the natural resources.
The question was asked why the President set the dollar amount on BP's liability so high instead of sticking to the $75M minimum liability. According to the OPA, the dollor figure isn't a set amount.
Sec. 2704. Limits on liability
(a) General rule
Except as otherwise provided in this section, the total of the liability of a responsible party under section 2702 of this title and any removal costs incurred by, or on behalf of, the responsible party, with respect to each incident shall not exceed--
(3) for an offshore facility except a deepwater port, the total of all removal costs plus $75,000,000;
In other words, BP is on the hook for ALL cost incurred for this oil spill PLUS $75,000,000! Furthermore, knowing that the cost of recovery would be great and no one knows where BP's liability will end, the President had to set up a large fund - the escrow account. But here's the legal rational for setting the fund so high:
Sect. 2706(d)(3) - No Double Recovery
There shall be no double recovery under this Act for natural resource damages, including with respect to the costs of damage assessment or restoration, rehabilitation, replacement, or acquisition for the same incident and natural resource.
Folks who continue to scream "unconstitutional" need to remember that Congress - our nation's legistlative body - does make these things called laws as authorized them by the Constitution. It is these laws that govern specific functions or gives specific authority to various representatives to perform certain duties. So, just because something's not specifically spelled out in the Constitution doesn't mean that a person, i.e., the President, doesn't have the authority to act according to your demands.
We are a nation of laws. I'd urge people to remember that the next time you scream, "It's unconstitutional". Read the law that govern.
Link to Oil Pollution Act