Environmental news from California and beyond

« Previous | Greenspace Home | Next »

Gulf oil spill: Capped well might help speed up the claims process


As long as BP can keep its well capped, the claims process might be able proceed faster, the administrator of the Gulf Coast oil spill compensation fund said Monday.

"The best news for my purposes, in the last week, is that the oil stopped," Kenneth Feinberg told the Economic Club of Washington, D.C. "Until the oil stops, it's very hard to corral the claims….Now that the oil has apparently been stopped, it will make it a lot easier and quicker to get a handle on the universe of claims." 

Describing the challenges he faces, Feinberg said, "Do not underestimate the problems associated with human nature… Do not assume that people automatically will opt into these programs. People are skeptical, angry, dispirited, worried …Human nature being what it is, you have to sell these programs."

Feinberg, who is administering the $20-billion fund set up by BP under pressure from the White House, said that he sees the fund lasting three years. The program is voluntary. Anyone affected by the spill can go to court, but Feinberg said, "I'll be much more generous than any court would be," citing the cost and time of litigation.

Among his challenges is figuring out who should receive compensation.

A Boston restaurant can't get gulf shrimp?

"Highly unlikely," Feinberg said.

A motel lost customers because of oil on the beach?

"Pay the claim," Feinberg said.

A golf course 50 miles from the gulf whose business is down 30%?

"Dubious." Feinberg said.

"Where do you draw that line?" Feinberg said. "That’s a judgment call. You look to the law…But the law only helps you so much."

A major concern is fraud, Feinberg said. "Nothing undercuts the credibility of these programs more than fraud," he said.  

Feinberg, who ran a similar fund for victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, described the emotion of administering such a fund.

He recalled the reaction he received when he approached the families of 9/11 victims with a check. "Mr. Feinberg, they haven't recovered my husband's body from the World Trade Center, and you're here to offer me money?"

"No matter how creative you may be in coming up with a program that reasonable people would claim is very reasonable and makes a lot of sense, you've still got to sell it to people who are emotionally distraught," he said. "And that is a big part of what I have to do here."

Feinberg said that he hopes the $20 billion is enough, adding that BP has stated that if that amount "is inadequate, they will continue to honor all additional financial obligations that confront them."

-- Richard Simon in Washington

Photo: Kenneth Feinberg is overseeing the $20-billion fund for economic damages caused by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Credit: Joshua Roberts / Bloomberg    

Comments () | Archives (4)

The comments to this entry are closed.

What about all the other oil spill claims going on in the country ? Why does the gulf get preference ?

Do federal officials have our best interest at heart ? NO !

Massachusetts and Rhode Island need protection from oil spills! A federal judge along with the US Coast Guard have stopped the 2004 Massachusetts Oil Spill Prevention Act, striking down regulations on oil shipping in Buzzards Bay that included mandatory tug escorts and navigational routes. The Massachusetts Tug Boat Escort law was enacted as a result of a 2003 oil spill in Buzzards Bay!

Over 98,000 gallons of # 6 oil  spilled into Buzzard's Bay,Massachusetts when Bouchard Transportation Co.'s Barge B-120 cargo tank ruptured on April 27,2003. The oil spill has affected 90 miles of coastline along the bay, and has shown up on beaches as far east as Block Island and Narragansett,Rhode Island. Toll is heavy on birds and shorelines in addition the case is still in litigation !

Can't find a job or work where you're at? There are Gulf Oil Spill Clean Up Jobs right now, many positions to fill immediately to help with the Gulf Oil Spill cleanup effort.

Will Victims of the BP Oil Gusher Also Be Victims of Class Action Lawsuits and the BP Oil Spill Victim Compensation Fund?

Great, the oil has stopped for now, however, Crude oil continues to invade the Gulf; as BP, the US Government, and other official agencies monitoring the toxic crude, continues to FIDDLE. That is what I called the Dance of Deliberate Deception. No one will come forward with the intestinal fortitude, and declare the obvious - that crude oil is toxic to breathe. I have been told by OSHA that a medical study cannot be conducted until after 6 months of exposure. WHAT? There have been 21 years since the exposure of the crude oil in Prince William Sound, and no one is listening. So, after 6 months of workers in the gulf breathe in the crude oil, a study can be conducted? That leads me to believe that the government is holding up the rug, while BP sweeps known reports under the same rug, and the other agencies conduct the Dance of Deliberate Deception on top of the rug.

President Obama, how about admitting that the crude oil is toxic, and demand BP provide respirators for the oil cleanup workers, and compensation for the Gulf unemployment caused by the disaster.

In 1989 Exxon told the cleanup workers the same story, that the crude oil is not toxic. Some of us are living proof of the toxic exposure, and many others have died. Please view the YouTube video, and help get the message to Gulf residents, BP crude oil cleanup workers, and President Obama. Respirators need to be supplied to oil cleanup crews.
Thank you.


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


Recent News
Invitation to connect on LinkedIn |  December 12, 2013, 9:58 am »
New Cook Islands Shark Sanctuary proposed |  December 8, 2011, 8:00 am »