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Gulf oil spill: Escrow chief in BP fund promises speed

The man charged with distributing $20 billion or more to the victims of the gulf oil spill said Friday that  he will establish a system of processing and paying claims with “speed, speed for people in need.”

Kenneth Feinberg, a Washington attorney who was named the independent administrator of the BP fund this week, traveled to the gulf region Friday to “hear first-hand what’s being done, what needs to be done, to provide prompt, fair, impartial compensation for people with legitimate claim.”

In Jackson, Miss., Feinberg met with Gov. Haley Barbour. He later met with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal to discuss the fund’s operation. Feinberg said he would be building on the system already set up by BP to make short-term immediate payments, primarily for lost wages.  The new expanded system could be ready to handle damage claims within 30 to 45 days, and payments on future claims would be paid within 30 to 60 days, Feinberg said.

In addition to wage-loss claims, the fund will handle interruption of business, personal injury and possibly death claims. Feinberg, who served a similar role for a fund for the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks, said different forms of corroboration would be needed depending on the type of compensation sought, but all effort would be made to make the process simple and clear. “We will have a methodology, a very transparent methodology in place,” he said.

People accepting emergency payments to make up for lost wages would not forfeit their right to seek further damage from BP through the courts, Feinberg said. But those who seek a single “lump sum” payment from the fund would probably waive their right to sue, Feinberg said. “That’s what we did with the 9/11 fund; it seems to make the most sense,” he said.

Another unsettled issue is what would be considered a legitimate claim. Feinberg said he had not yet decided if businesses indirectly affected by the spill would qualify for compensation. He indicated he would look to state courts for guidance on the issue.

“In the 9/11 fund, the way we dealt with that answer was to look to Mississippi law. If you go to court in Mississippi what would the law in Mississippi say is the appropriate cut-off point?” he said.

-- Kathleen Hennessey

RELATED: Overseer of BP fund 'a force of nature'
 
 
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HAPPY GO LUCKY HAL

Mark Leibovich wrote an article in the Time entitled GOP Stalwart Says Come, the Gulf's Fine, it highlights Haley Barbour's thoughts on the BP oil spill. Barbour's eight years as Governor will be up in 2012 and apparently Leibovich believes that his performance and PR could help shift his political image from that of an inside party boss to an out front crisis manager and a possible presidential candidate in 2012--Mark's words not mine.

Barbour reminds everyone in the Leibovich article that - the coast is clear come on down...get a picture of that beach...they are gorgeous, pristine, beautiful...even the oil that gets close to Mississippi is not so bad. All of this distorted denial coming from Happy Go Lucky Haley. This former Republican lobbyist on tobacco's side is noted in the article as a possible contender for the 2012 Republican nomination, if this happens it will be due to one of the greatest jobs of denial in contemporary American History.

It may come as a shock to the Governor but the Gulf of Mexico and it's oily waters are contiguous to the state of Mississippi. Barbour's denial of the growing damage to the businesses, voters, wildlife, habitats and beaches of the Gulf will not solve this growing problem. American has always solved problems by confronting and solving them, not through denial. The nation today is desiring strong leadership which will confront, solve and cleanup this massive industrial ravaging of this area. One must ask the Governor of Mississippi, what are you going to tell voters when this spill ultimately costs jobs, beaches, wildlife and a way of life for years?

Former President Truman believed in the buck stopping at his desk. This cheer leading effort on the Governor's part may improve tourism a bit, but it will not confront a major problem which must be solved to truly help the state of Mississippi. If denying a problem is the primary criteria applied when running for high office in 2012, then Barbour's name should be near the top of the list. Yet voters today want truth and action not fantasy. 2012 will be a year of identifying those who can make the tough decisions and act, Haley Barbour does not fill that bill and is not a serious candidate.

Dr. Alan Phillips

SOUNDS MORE LIKE THE "CASH FOR CLUNKERS PROGRAM "

WHO QUALIFIES- WHERE IS THE FORM ?

Why did US Minerals Management Service,MMS Director Elizabeth Birnbaum quit her job?What ever happened to US Coast Guard Rear Admiral Mary E. Landry who was also in charge of the Bouchard B-120 oil spill in Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts and spokesperson for the Gulf spill? Why would BP, British Petroleum, move Tony Hayward the day after he agreed to a 20 billion dollar escrow account with President Obama ?

We believe local residents need to ask the questions ! For example the BP people don't want workers to wear face masks when they cleaning up the oil because it looks bad . Your local Chamber of Commerce people are telling people it's OK to go the the beach .
Do they all know the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has determined that some PAHs in oil may reasonably be expected to be carcinogens.


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