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Gulf Oil Spill Reaches the Senate in a Shrimper's Jar

Protester Targets Senator Murkowski's Moves to Shield Oil Companies from Liability and Preempt Clean Air Act

by David Sassoon

When Senator Lisa Murkowski, the ranking member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, started speaking today at yet another Congressional hearing on the Gulf oil spill, it was anything but business-as-usual. Her words got drowned out by a piece of political theater, courtesy of a Texas shrimper and long-time activist.

The packed hearing room watched as Diane Wilson stood up and started pouring oil from a jar on herself. She wanted to protest the Alaska Senator's efforts to block legislation that would lift the cap on liability payments for oil spills in the Gulf, and Murkowski's resolution, up for a vote tomorrow, aimed at stopping EPA from regulating greenhouse gases through the Clean Air Act. The packed hearing room watched as Diane Wilson stood up and started pouring oil from a jar on herself. She wanted to protest the Alaska Senator's efforts to block legislation that would lift the cap on liability payments for oil spills in the Gulf, and Murkowski's resolution, up for a vote tomorrow, aimed at stopping EPA from regulating greenhouse gases through the Clean Air Act.

"The police grabbed her right away and took her away," Medea Benjamin of activist group CODEPINK, who was in the hearing room, told SolveClimate. She was supporting the action, holding up a sign that read "Murkowski = Big Oil."

Guards told Benjamin she could stay in the hearing room if she put away her sign, as the spill was cleaned up and order restored. It turned out that the substance in the jar was not oil at all, but carob syrup.

"Diane didn't want to be like BP and really spill oil," Benjamin said, explaining that Wilson was out to provide lawmakers with a visceral experience of what it's like to have oil dumped on you.

...Read more at SolveClimate

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