04/20/2011 11:27 am ET Updated Jun 20, 2011

One Year Later: Making Big Oil Pay For Its Mess

One year ago today, an explosion ripped through the Deepwater Horizon oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico -- devastating countless lives and an entire ecosystem.

Today, big oil companies involved in the disaster are exploiting legal loopholes in an effort to get off the hook for the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.

I've introduced legislation to make these companies pay for their mess. But to get it passed, we have to make sure it's part of the national conversation today, during the intense media coverage we're sure to see on the Gulf oil spill anniversary.

That's why I'm asking Huffington Post readers to co-sponsor my legislation TODAY -- while the nation and the press reflect on the Gulf oil spill anniversary.

We know that the companies who owned and constructed the sunken Deepwater Horizon rig, including Transocean and Halliburton, cut corners. They bear responsibility for last year's tragedy.

But they argue that current law doesn't obligate anyone but BP to compensate victims -- and sadly, the Supreme Court has severely limited any financial penalties they must pay.

The Oil Spill Victims Redress Act I've introduced in the Senate will ensure that all companies implicated in an oil spill -- not just the company operating the well -- are on the hook to compensate victims and their families.

And my Maritime Liability Fairness Act will reverse the Supreme Court's decision on the Exxon Valdez spill, which severely limits BP's liability. In fact, the Supreme Court decision slashed Exxon's punitive damages by 90%...making it cost-effective to play fast and loose with safety.

Sign on as a Citizen Co-Sponsor of my two-part legislation TODAY, and make sure Big Oil does not get away with the worst environmental disaster in American history.

In the big picture, this isn't just about getting justice for the people these oil companies harmed in 2010. This is about our energy future. This is about our economy.

We'll never move beyond oil until we stop rewarding oil companies with ridiculous taxpayer subsidies, and start making them pay for the harm they cause our families and our planet. We'll never move beyond outrageous gas prices. And as I saw in Rhode Island, during not one but two oil spills, we let oil companies jeopardize the livelihoods of thousands of Americans who depend on the ocean for their income.

So today, as we mark the one-year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon rig disaster, let's take a stand -- and fix the law to finally hold Big Oil accountable.

Thanks for signing on as a Citizen Co-Sponsor of my legislation.