Menendez Presses Bush Admin. To Hold Oil And Gas Firms Accountable For Billions In Unpaid Fines

Menendez Presses Bush Admin. To Hold Oil And Gas Firms Accountable For Billions In Unpaid Fines

Senator requests full inventory of civil, criminal penalties assessed against oil and gas companies

Washington - U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today called on the Bush administration to finally hold the oil and gas industry accountable by forcing them to pay the estimated billions of dollars in outstanding fines and penalties owed to the federal government. In a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as several other government agencies with jurisdiction over of the oil and gas industry, Menendez requested a full listing of all civil and criminal fines and penalties assessed against any oil or gas company. At a time when oil companies are making record profits on the backs of American consumers, the government can not be lax when it comes to collecting fines owed by corporations, Menendez said. This is money owed to the American taxpayer, and we need to be vigilant to ensure that these fines are paid.While oil and gas companies are posting some of the largest profits in the history of their industry, the American taxpayer is facing increasingly escalating energy and gasoline costs. In the past five weeks gasoline prices have risen an average of 32 cents per gallon; with prices expected to jump higher during the summer travel season.I ask that you provide me a list of all fines and penalties, both civil and criminal, that your agency has assessed in the past five years to companies involved in the exploration, production, gathering and processing, refining, transportation, or retail sale of oil or natural gas, along with the amount that has been collected as a result of each of those fines, Menendez wrote.Several news reports have documented the exorbitant profits oil and gas companies have recently made while they squeeze the American consumer with high energy prices and refuse to pay billions in fines and penalties. One news outlet estimates the fines and penalties left unpaid by the oil and gas industry could reach the tens of billions.

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