BP, Feinberg and the Federal Government against the Gulf Coast…
When US District Court Judge Carl Barbier issued his ruling which declared Feinberg and the GCCF were not independent of British Petroleum, but more of a related hybrid entity, he requested all parties involved file briefs for his consideration in making a future ruling on whether the oil claims process follows the law.
And the briefs came.
And when they came, the sides were revealed.
Whereas state governments and plaintiff attorneys are obviously taking the position the GCCF needs court supervision, the Federal Government has taken up the side of Feinberg and British Petroleum.
U.S. assistant attorney general for Environment and Natural Resources, Ignacia Moreno wrote that it is not necessary for the court to monitor the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, whose success “can only be measured by whether the people of the Gulf feel fairly treated.”
It would appear Mr. Moreno not only missed a meeting, he missed all the meetings, every town hall meeting Feinberg held while at the same time revealing his office’s internet was either down, or the GCCF website was blocked during the public comment period. Or maybe, when those 1400 plus comments rolled in from Gulf Coast residents, he was only able to find the dozen or so positive ones while the other thousand plus negative criticisms perhaps managed a daring daylight escape over the wall of his attentions.
British Petroleum, of course, also felt judicial oversight was not necessary for the GCCF to comply with the Oil Pollution Act, “Judicial supervision of OPA’s claims process would not promote, but instead would undermine, the fair and efficient administration of the process” according to the document filed by BP attorney Don Haycraft, with Liskow and Lewis of New Orleans…also adding “that there may be different ways to run a claims process does not mean that the GCCF’s chosen methods fail to comply with OPA.”
Nothing like a judge to get in the way of British Petroleum’s fair and efficient claims process…the same one that has paid only 1 of 54,000 interim claims filed since mid-December, or a handful of final claims despite weeks and months of waiting. Perhaps the attorneys of British Petroleum only spoke to their one corporate client they pushed to the front of the line of the claims process, the one Feinberg paid ten million dollars at British Petroleum’s suggestion.
Feinberg had a lot to say about judicial oversight as well, maybe feeling the heat from a judge who might step in and be the one thing he can no longer claim to be, neutral…
In his own brief, Feinberg stated that he is complying with the law because the oil pollution act makes no mandates regarding methods of calculating claims, nor does it specify what can or can not be included in releases signed by claimants, but as is often the case with attorneys, especially those aligned with large corporations accused of doing the public harm, what is legally permissible is often a far cry from what is morally sound. Feinberg went on to defend the transparency of his process…showing right away he apparently suffers from many of the same problems as Mr. Moreno and may be even worse considering he not only has repeatedly stated transparency is an issue he needs to improve upon, but many of the residents at his town hall meetings, when they were attacking the lack of transparency, were speaking directly to Feinberg at the time.
The Justice Department, as mentioned before, also weighed in, saying, “it does not envision court management of the claims process. Rather, the OPA claims process is intended as a mechanism by which parties may avoid litigation – not a mechanism that will generate litigation or open up new forums for disputes.”
From many of the comments I’ve received and many news articles I’ve read, it would appear one of the things Feinberg and the GCCF has been quite good at is driving people directly towards litigation, especially the few people in the Gulf Coast who can afford to wait for funds from such a prolonged legal process.
So now, we wait…we wait for Judge Carl Barbier’s ruling.
Gulf Coast residents wait, to see what determination will be made on the legality of the no-sue clause, the waiver.
They wait to see if the healing of the Gulf Coast will be overseen by someone who can more properly and legally define himself as neutral.
Most importantly, they wait to see if that same healing process will work on BP and Feinberg’s forced 2012 timetable, or if all will be made right by a more natural timetable led by the natural processes in the Gulf of Mexico, a timetable which will work of its own accord, unbound by the will of a company whose errors helped lead to its undoing and the individual assigned to apparently just make things right, enough.
Read the article:
Have a nice day.