Archive for March 2011
From the Walton Sun:
The Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF) announced Monday that more than half of the claims submitted to the organization for losses associated with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill have been processed. Ken Feinberg, GCCF administrator, reported more than 54 percent of the roughly 256,000 claims submitted since the end of the emergency payment period in November have been processed.
“We are determined to continue to accelerate the processing of all individual and business claims submitted to the GCCF. I remain concerned about the number of claims which lack proof and remain unsubstantiated,” Feinberg said in a statement.
Wow, sounds pretty good on the surface of things…course, once one digs a little deeper the problems begin to rear their oily heads…
In Florida, where 38% of the 260, 739 claims filed were paid, though the total paid out was more about $1.25 billion, this means the average final payment comes to about $12,600 dollars. Twelve thousand dollars for total loss of wages, present and future, in an un-recovered Gulf. When you take into account that these average numbers are helped by larger payments to businesses, how much are individuals really getting?
Certainly not enough to make things right.
Also, out of the 62,204 applications submitted for interim payments, you know, those pesky claims where people don’t have to waive their right to sue British Petroleum, the GCCF’s percentage of claimants paid, that 50% number drops significantly. In fact, it drops to 4%. Of the interim payments filed, less than 2500 claims have been paid.
So, if Feinberg and the GCCF have paid half of the final payment claims, claims where people must waive their right to sue while only paying 4% of the claims where people do not, what do you think might be happening out there?
Yeah, that’s right, it would appear that people are being funneled by frustration with the interim payment process into making final payment claims.
And who would benefit the most from that development?
British Petroleum, the same company that pays Feinberg.
Have a nice day.
Wow, just wow…
One of Bobby Jindal’s corporate buddies made the news today…
Turns out that the nuclear industry in Japan has a horrible safety record, which some experts are suggesting is partly to blame in the severity of the meltdowns as a result of the earthquake and tsunami.
And now, the Japanese nuclear industry is coming to America.
TEPCO, the Tokyo Electric Power Company is coming to Texas to build two nuclear plants and they apparently have a safety record that could make even British Petroleum look like, well…like a different oil company than British Petroleum.
Anyways, all nuclear power plants have to be certified for “SQ” or Seismic Qualification be it Japan or any other place and the easiest way to do this is to lie, something the industry apparently does a lot of. In 1988, a nuclear plant in Shoreham, New York was told they didn’t meet their “SQ,” and in order to do so, it would have cost one billion in updates. Instead of spending the money, the company in charge of the plant told their engineers to simply change the tests from “fail,” to “pass.”
So, guess what company put in the false safety report?
Stone & Webster.
Guess what Stone & Webster is now?
The nuclear division of Shaw Construction.
Guess what company is going to be working with TEPCO on the new nuclear plants in Texas?
The Gulf really needs this right now.
Read the article:
Have a nice day.
Remember these old hits?
Tony Hayward says he “wants his life back?”
Or how about that now infamous slogan of British Petroleum’s concerning all things oil spill, that pledge to”make things right.”
Well, as someone who blogs about these subjects, these two statements gave me a lot of mileage. They were tailor-made, a way to give a verbal “screw-you” to the whole damn company every time they inevitably did anything but make things right, or when I mentioned how Gulf Coast residents are far more entitled to get their life back, way more than some narcissist with an inability to shut up like Mr. Hayward.
But, you know…those slogans were getting a little old, a little tired, kind of hard to keep using them in different ways oh-so-many months later, and just when I was starting to get really nervous about what I was going to do as a blogger…well, Bob Dudley goes to the CERA conference and in his apology to his fellow oil and gas industry executives, he spoke of having to regain not only their trust, but the trust of the politicians and the Gulf Coast residents themselves.
And then, Bob uttered the newest catchphrase…saying that British Petroleum gets it, and in order to regain the trust of all, this will require: “Actions, not words.”
Actions, not words…
I couldn’t agree more.
So okay…Bob…if British Petroleum is about actions to regain trust of the Gulf Coast and not just words, then why is British Petroleum reneging on yet another promise?
From the Alabama Press-register: Time for BP to ‘take responsibility’ for VOO damages
Turns out that all those boats Bob’s company hired to help cleanup the oil as part of the “Vessels of Opportunity” program are not getting the promised repairs. BP initially told everyone if there were any damages, they’d pay to fix things up, but just like hundreds of thousands of people who have been denied by Feinberg’s GCCF, captains in the Orange Beach area of Alabama are now getting their repair claims denied by BP.
Way to regain trust, moron.
“These boat captains — experts on local waters — were willing and ready to work for BP during the worst days of the oil spill, deploying boom, skimming oil and patrolling for oil sheens and slicks. Despite complaints that local people weren’t always getting first chance at the jobs, the idea of employing the people who were kept from their business of fishing and tourism was sound…(Now) the busiest time of the year for boat owners and captains is again approaching. They need to be out on the water…They made agreements with BP to do a job, and part of those agreements included reimbursements for damages. Instead of living up to its end of the deal, BP seems willing to risk more bad publicity and the possibility that frustrated captains will hire attorneys and file lawsuits.”
“Actions, not words…”
Damn Bob, it’s like when you guys at BP speak, you’re living in this strange self-created reality where you are good, kind, responsible people who care, where the Gulf of Mexico is fine. I understand that in your boardrooms and bedrooms, people automatically take your words as the gospel truth,or at least tell you they do…but out here in the real world, things are a little different. Out here, Bob, most people recognize you for the shameless shyster you are, at the helm of a company who reneges on deals, destroys the environment and is at minimum, partly culpable in the deaths of eleven people in the Gulf.
But, it would seem to you that’s neither here nor there.
“Actions, not words…”
So, I mean, thanks for the new catchphrase…I like it, I think it might be you’re biggest hit yet and I’ll probably hang onto it for awhile…but really Bob, don’t think people don’t realize your slogans are as hollow as your apologies, your integrity and your promises.
People simply aren’t that stupid.
Have a nice day.
Bob Dudley apologized for the oil spill on Tuesday.
Bob Dudley apologized for the oil spill by saying “BP is sorry. BP gets it,” adding, “We need to earn back your trust, along with that of state and federal leaders and the trust of Gulf Coast residents and customers…we are determined we will once again restore that trust, and I realize this requires action, not words.”
When Bob Dudley apologized for the oil spill, he made this apology at the CERA gathering, speaking to a collection of industry bigwigs in the corporate oil and gas community.
“Actions, not words,” he said.
In light of that statement, it should also be known that in the past couple of weeks Bob Dudley and BP have reneged on promised assistance for the restoration of the oyster beds in Louisiana, they have low-balled requests by Gulf Coast states for money to help boost tourism, they have made no statements on the increasing sicknesses across the Gulf Coast from exposure to toxic fumes and they have also complained that the meager payments to claimants from Ken Feinberg and the GCCF are too high.
“Actions, not words…”
Perhaps more important than a mea culpa at a conference for industry insiders, Bob Dudley should apologize for the oil spill in each and every affected home in Grand Isle, Lousiana, in the fishing communities of Plaquemines Parish, in Gulfport, in the bayou, all across Alabama and Florida and in every other affected community along the Gulf Coast.
I understand it could be argued that this kind of demand is unreasonable, unrealistic and excessive…maybe, but so was the flood of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, the dumping of Corexit dispersants and the loss of life on the Deepwater Horizon.
Making things right is not a generic PR apology to your buddies at an oil industry conference. Sorry Bob, that’s just one more half-assed stunt with no real accountability.
Have a nice day.
In the words of Jeff O’Bryant, a restaurant manager from Miramar Beach Florida, “I received $14,000 in emergency payments and have been offered a measly $7,500 as a final payout. That is supposed to cover losses through 2013? Our losses have cut deep and will be felt for a long time. The $7,500 will cover taxes and a mortgage payment. This won’t nearly be enough to avoid foreclosure.”
A scant three days ago, the average amount of an accepted final payment from Feinberg’s GCCF was at $11,000 dollars, but now, as of March 7th, the average has dropped to $6,800 dollars. By Feinberg’s own estimation there is roughly $15 billion dollars available in BP’s escrow fund, yet so far he has offered up only $64 million dollars in final payment money.
Makes a guy wonder how the negotiations are going between Feinberg and British Petroleum, you know, to determine how much his law firm will be paid for the next three months to administer the fund.
And even though the average on final payments will doubtless fluctuate over the coming months and probably begin to climb at some point, I’m guessing that the claimant, or the business that gets paid more than Feinberg for administering this mess will be the rare, rare exception and certainly not the rule…
Have a nice day.
Spring Break is coming…
That annual rite of passage where drunken teens descend upon the beaches to get a rest from their studies and are often side by side with families, also on vacation from the thawing but still cold North is almost here, and all along the Gulf Coast, resorts and towns who typically make a great deal of money from this annual retreat are crossing their fingers. It’s been a pretty bad year…the economy, the now rising gas prices, the BP oil spill and the resulting tons of Corexit dumped into the waters to combat said oil spill…
So, is it safe for the people to spend time on the beaches? Is the sand and water clean, or is it poison?
It would depend on who you ask.
The CDC says all is well. The NOAA, the FDA and the EPA say all is well…come on down and have a fine time, and those are some pretty heavy hitters. It would appear safe to say that the Federal Government believes nobody will come to any harm by spending days on the beaches of the Gulf Coast, in the water, breathing the air, and the owners of the resorts, the people who work in these towns certainly hope the government is right.
We all do, even British Petroleum, who even while they scale back cleanup across the Gulf Coast continues to focus their attention on the sands of the resort towns, the places where the media doesn’t fear to tread because they know that Spring Break is a proving ground for progress. It’s the time where people will come to the Gulf from all over the country and see with their own eyes whether all their PR efforts, the commercials on television, radio and the internet are right, or are what many in the Gulf believe…a load of shit.
The last thing BP needs is another batch of dead dolphins to come rolling onto Panama City Beach while the MTV crews are around, or a massive fish kill, or a storm that might bring a few more tons of tar balls from the tar mats of oil offshore.
Its also the last thing business owners in the Gulf need.
And that brings us to a choice, the choice…
Nobody in the government wants to be Roy Scheider, the Sheriff of Amity running across the sand yelling, “Oil!”
The government instead chooses the uneasy role of the mayor, anxiety and defiance etched in his quickly aging face and threatening to fire anyone who finds the shark in them waters. Meanwhile, the business community of the Gulf Coast shares the anxiety, torn between trying to revive their economy and a creeping feeling of hope that nothing bad will happen, that the oil won’t come ashore and that nobody will get sick.
Having written on this subject for awhile and having spoken to many others who also write on this subject, it is much akin to writing about seafood safety in the Gulf. Logic would seem to dictate that if you dump that many toxins into a body of water that the seafood is unsafe, but to actually write that is something else entirely, because tugging at your conscience is also the knowledge that this meme would also harm the industry of a part of the country you care for very much, and a great many people who you care about.
As I mentioned, the choice is difficult, especially when you believe that the government and its agencies, as they have been throughout this whole catastraphuk, are only giving you part of the truth or their best case scenario. For British Petroleum and the government, logic and what you believe are unimportant. What is important is what you can prove, and they seem to believe nobody can prove the Gulf is unsafe.
All despite articles such as:
or all of the important information available from the website:
Again, the choice is a difficult one.
But, much as I wish it weren’t the case, I’ve read too much and heard the stories of too many people for me to bury my head in the sands cleaned by British Petroleum, and I am forced to add my voice to the growing crowd of people who are pointing at the surf yelling, “Oil…Oil…Oil…” because whereas I do believe in the importance of an improving economy, I also believe that more important are any potential health risks for the people, even more important than a full beach.
Have a nice day.
A couple of days ago I wrote a bit about how Ken Feinberg’s credibility is a thing of the past.
In fact, his credibility began eroding just a few weeks into his tenure as the
neutral arbitrator of British Petroleum’s compensation fund when his initial promises of EAP claims being paid for individuals within 48 hours and business inside of a week quickly fell through. Then the destruction became complete just a couple of weeks back when Judge Carl Barbier of the US District Court ruled that Feinberg was not neutral and not independent of British Petroleum and must stop referring to himself as such.
So it would only seem fair that when Mr. Feinberg, in a conference call to Alabama elected officials, promised that his GCCF will process at least 25% of all pending claims by March 31st, one might be skeptical of his pledge.
Indicating such feeling, both Alabama Governor, Robert Bentley and Attorney General Luther Strange said they would hold Feinberg to his word.
And Gulf Shores Councilman Jason Dyken also expressed the obvious about Feinberg’s promises, “He’s been saying that for six months.” Dyken went on to say, “And I’m not very optimistic. I understand the complexity of their task, and I understand the magnitude of their task. But then again, it’s not rocket science.”
As I’ve written before, growing popular opinion is that Feinberg is stalling payments in an attempt to get claimants to accept smaller offers out of desperation and it’s a strategy that appears to be working if the few numbers anyone is able to pry out of the GCCF are any indication: of 573 final offers made, about 129 claimants accepted an average payment of a little more than $11,000.
To cover any damages from the spill, lost wages, lost culture, physical and mental health problems and a still uncertain future. I personally work in one of the lowest paid professions out there and $11,000 dollars wouldn’t reimburse me for five months, let alone eleven months so far since British Petroleum screwed up the entire Gulf.
But, I suppose it could always be worse.
Hundreds of thousands of claimants were completely shut out of this process for reasons Feinberg’s lack of transparency fails to reveal, and in my opinion, their settlements were worth precisely the amount of both Feinberg’s credibility and sense of integrity…
Have a nice day.