Talk Radio News Service: Oil Spill Victims May Get Help From Alaskan Senator

Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Ala.) announced at a press conference Tuesday that she will be introducing new legislation in an effort to reform the compensation process for oil spill victims.

Murkowski said that this new legislation was sparked after she revisited the site of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Cordova, Alaska, where, after 20 years, the effects of the spill are still evident.

"The Oil Spill Compensation Act deals with so many areas with what we are seeing with the situation in the gulf that occured in Alaska, [with the new bill] we would provide for compensation in a fair and a fast manner by establishing the option for an expedited, [third-party-administered] administrative claims process," Murkowski said.

The Alaskan Senator said that by creating an option for an independent, third-party claims process, big oil companies like BP would no longer have the authority to validate prospective claims.

Murkowksi said the new legislation is aimed at restoring and strengthening the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, increasing its ceiling to $10 billion dollars. It would also provide additional funding and authority to the U.S. Coast Guard in order to conduct research and development for oil spill containment and it would direct 37.5 percent of outer continental shelf oil and gas revenues to states and affected communities of the Deepwater Horizon spill.

"I want to make sure that the people in the gulf know that we are not taking our eye off the ball when it comes to those measures that provide them with immediate relief," Murkowski said. "We cannot lose sight of the fact that there are people hurting now that need our help and if we can move forward a measure that is going to help them, then that's what we need to be doing."

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Source: By Alexa Gitler. Originally broadcast June 15, 2010