Lawmakers looking for ways to ensure that oil companies pay for devastating spills have a new target: a 2008 Supreme Court decision limiting punitive damages in maritime law.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., joined by Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Richard Durbin, D-Ill., Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., introduced a bill this month that would eliminate the 1:1 ratio of punitive damages to compensatory damages imposed in Exxon Shipping Co. v. Baker (pdf).

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