BP’s $93 Million Tab

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Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen and Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano sent a letter to congressional leaders Friday warning that the government is in danger of running out of money for the emergency response to the Gulf disaster. Unless Congress acts to free up other money from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund (OSLTF), currents funds “will be insufficient to sustain Federal response operations within two weeks,” they warned.

As of June 1, the administration has spent $93 million responding to the Gulf disaster, and BP has yet to reimburse the federal government. The letter notes that the government believes the money will ultimately be recovered from “responsible parties” and deposited into the fund, but that just hasn’t happened yet. Thus, wrote Allen and Napolitano, there is an “urgent need” for Congress to allow them to tap into additional money within the trust fund.

So far, the money has been used to pay for the responders from the National Guard, Department of Defense, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Interior, and the Department of Agriculture. In the letter, they warn that “depleting all currently available funds puts at risk the Nation’s ability to address any new spills unrelated to BP/Deepwater Horizon.”

Sure, Congress could act to make more money available, and it probably will. More importantly though, BP should start paying up what it owes the federal government. After all, that $93 million just happens to be exactly the same amount of money the oil giant reaps in profits in a single day.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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