06/23/2010 02:45 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Mike Lee, Utah Senate Nominee, Favors Low Liability Cap For Oil Companies

Tea Party favorite Mike Lee won the GOP nomination for the Utah Senate last night and is the odds-on favorite to replace Senator Bob Bennett (R-Utah), who was ousted at the state GOP convention for the crime of occasionally being willing to work across party lines to solve America's problems.

This is really good news for BP though, because Lee favors a low liability cap on oil companies that destroy an entire region of the country. But, then, who will pay for it? Let's ask Lee Fang, of ThinkProgress:

Lee was asked by the Tribune if he supported efforts, such as the one by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), to raise the liability cap for oil companies from the current $75 million to at least $10 billion. Lee's response was a blunt, "no," followed later by an explanation that the minuscule $75 million cap was part of a "set of settled expectations that you give to a business when it decides to make an investment." Lee said it would be a "mistake" to raise the liability cap for companies like BP and Anadarko, even if maintaining the status quo leaves "taxpayers on the hook for part of the damage."

Oh, but surely Lee was more nuanced than that!

LEE: This company is reliant, the entire industry, is reliant on the insurance its provided by law. Now had that cap not been in place, we would be facing a completely different question. But you have a set of settled expectations that you give to a business when it decides to make an investment in this. Our country benefits from this type of activity and allows us to produce more oil and allows more of our petro dollars to remain in the United States. We've relied on that, and to take that away I think would be a mistake.

SL TRIBUNE: Does that leave taxpayers on the hook for part of the damage?

LEE: Well yea probably does. And the government can look at that and say look, we put this damages cap in place, so we understood what that meant.

SL TRIBUNE: Isn't that equivalent to a bailout?

LEE: I don't think, well, I don't think that's equivalent to a bailout.

Your next senator from Utah, ladies and gentlemen! Suffice it to say, Lee will fit in well with the GOP establishment, once he's reminded by John Boehner that he's not supposed to say stuff like that out loud.

UT GOP Candidate Mike Lee Wants Low Liability Cap For Oil Companies, Even If It Places 'Taxpayers On The Hook' [ThinkProgress]

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