Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sens. Chuck Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand and New Jersey Counterparts Demand Halt to Libya Drilling by Michael Mcauliff - NY Daily News

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BP should halt offshore drilling in Libyan waters until there is an investigation of the oil giant's role in freeing the Lockerbie bomber, four senators said Wednesday.

The New York and New Jersey senators admitted there is only circumstantial evidence against BP, but they called it damning.

"If anyone thinks this is a coincidence, Ihave a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn," saidSen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). "If I were aprosecutor, I'd love to take this case to a jury."

BP had been negotiating with Libya over a $900 million deal to drill off the Libyan coast since 2007. But that deal didn't get finalized until Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, convicted in the 1988 Pan Am Flight 103 bombing that killed 270, was freed last year.

BP admitted that it lobbied officials to complete a prisoner swap with Libyan President Moammar Khadafy, but denied ever mentioning the bomber.

Megrahi was freed by a Scottish court on "compassionate" grounds that he would die in three months from prostate cancer. He remains alive 11 months later, reportedly living in luxury.

Sens. Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and New Jersey Democrats Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg said BP should stop work on the lease and release any documents they have on Megrahi.

BP did not immediately respond to the requests. The company is expected to begin drilling off Libya in the next few weeks.

Secretary of State Clinton said Wednesday she had received a letter from the senators asking her to investigate "and we will obviously look into it."