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Gansler leads 11 AGs in letter asking BP to pay for any damage to East Coast

Thumbnail image for gansler-new.jpgMaryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler on Monday was the lead signatory on a letter from 11 Atlantic Coast attorneys general to BP, asking the company to commit to paying for environmental cleanup and economic damages should oil from the gulf spill round the tip of Florida and begin washing up on the nation's eastern shore.

"While we hope that the flow of oil from the Deepwater Horizon is stemmed soon and that the oil never reaches our shores or impacts our states, we have to prepare for the worst. If the worst does occur, we expect BP to work cooperatively with us and to provide our state and local governments and our affected residents the necessary financial resources to compensate fully for any environmental or economic losses suffered," the letter states.

"Like our sister states in the Gulf region, we request that BP memorialize its public commitments and provide further assurances regarding payment of all legitimate claims stemming from this oil spill. This will allow us, as the lawyers for our respective states, to advise our states on how best to plan for the future."

The letter seemed to ask the company to do little more than it has already done. But in a statement, Gansler said the measure was needed to "ensure that the interests of Maryland's citizens, natural resources and economy are not negatively impacted."

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II decided to pen his own letter, according to our colleague, Rosalind Helderman, at the Virginia Politics blog.

Spokesman Brian Gottstein said Cuccinelli was asked to sign the joint letter but decided to write his own after the group declined to add language Cuccinelli requested.

It appears Virginia's attorney general added a paragraph near the end of the letter asking BP to work with the federal clean-up effort to "remove barriers to clean-up initiatives by state and local governments." He also asked BP to join him in urging the federal government to "accept the offers from America's overseas allies to assist in the clean-up and recovery efforts" and to "take whatever steps may be necessary to facilitate that assistance including, but not limited to, a temporary wavier of the Jones Act restrictions on shipping."

Helderman breaks down the differences between the Maryland and Virginia letters here.

By Aaron C. Davis  |  June 21, 2010; 6:41 PM ET
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Cuccinelli is making the most of every waking opportunity to brand himself as a loose cannon. I wonder how supportive moderate conservatives - like McDonnell - are of his antics...because that's exactly what they are...antics.

Posted by: thelongblueline | June 22, 2010 1:46 AM | Report abuse

Instead of engaging in political theater, AG Gansler should take real action to stop the prosecution of citizens who record interactions with police in public places.

Several MD law enforcement agencies are prosecuting watchdogs under the state's wiretapping law, which does not apply to public conversations. Gansler should put a stop to these prosecutions by immediately issuing an opinion stating as much.

Posted by: member8 | June 22, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

member8...the AG's office already did...nearly 10 years ago....the police agencies are ignoring the law. Don't criticize Gansler for something you didn't even know had already been done.

Posted by: mimialley | June 23, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

What a waste of time! Gansler ought to leave BP to the feds and prosecute the chicken farmers et al who are killing the Chesapeake Bay. They are in immediate environmental threat in Md.

Posted by: VikingRider | June 23, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

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