FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Amy Wojcicki, Communications Director
Oregon voters saw a clear contrast in the U.S. Senate race this week as Senator Ron Wyden succeeded in his efforts to protect compensation for victims of the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, while Republican candidate Jim Huffman declared his opposition to a new relief fund set up to help those affected by the disaster.
“As Senator Wyden won in his effort to protect taxpayers from having to pay for the biggest environmental disaster in our nation’s history, Jim Huffman is fighting efforts to protect taxpayers and hold British Petroleum accountable,” said Trent Lutz, Democratic Party of Oregon Executive Director. “Oregon needs a Senator like Ron Wyden who fights for us, not someone who will always fight to protect the interests of the big oil companies.”
At a Jackson County Republican rally yesterday in Medford, Huffman declared that a new compensation fund established to help victims was beyond the authority of the federal government. “Funding bike paths, taking over General Motors and telling BP to pony up $20 billion to a fund that the president will hand out — these don't fit the enumerated powers of the government in the Constitution," said Huffman according to the June 18 Medford Mail Tribune.
In contrast, Senator Wyden this week won his battle to suspend all BP stock dividends until victims of the disaster are compensated. Originally, BP planned to distribute $10 billion in dividends to stockholders, but Wyden intervened and put pressure on BP to suspend the dividend payment until after taxpayers and gulf coast victims are made whole by the oil giant. As the Oregonian reported on June 16, “Two weeks after dismissing the suggestion as unnecessary, BP on Wednesday said it was cancelling all dividend payments for this year. The announcement was a victory for Sen. Ron Wyden who, along with Sen. Charles Schumer first demanded that the oil company suspend dividend payments until the full cost cleaning up the Gulf oil spill is known.”