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Senator Boxer calls for halt to offshore drilling pending Interior disaster plans review

Senator Boxer calls for temporary halt to offshore drilling
Senator Boxer calls for temporary halt to offshore drilling
Kitty Felde/KPCC

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The head of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee wants to stop all offshore oil drilling until companies show they can handle a spill like the one in the Gulf of Mexico.

Senator Barbara Boxer says she wants a moratorium on offshore drilling until oil companies offer reasonable assurances that they know how to respond to potential leaks.

She says she's "writing today to Secretary Salazar requesting an immediate review of all drilling that’s underway right now in offshore waters to ensure that every single well has an effective plan in place to prevent and respond to disasters like the one we’re watching unfold in the Gulf."

Boxer says she also supports a Democratic Senate bill that would lift the liability cap on oil companies to pay for spill cleanup. The present cap is 75-million dollars; Boxer says that’s not enough.

"If God forbid you got in your car and you got into a horrible accident and you did a lot of damage, there’s no artificial limit on what you’re gonna have to pay. Why should corporate America be any different from an individual?"

California’s junior senator, a Democrat, dismissed Republican criticism of President Obama’s trip to California this week. "I guess the question is should the president just not go anywhere until this well is capped?"

The president attended a Boxer fundraiser in the Bay Area. Boxer pointed out that he also visited a solar panel manufacturer that could help reduce America’s dependence on oil.