When Kenneth Feinberg took over disbursement of the $20 billion dollar fund from BP one month ago, he made the rather startling claim that emergency payments would be underway to people within 24 hours and businesses within a week. One month later, over 40,000 claims remain to be processed. He has been forced to do town hall meetings, to add personnel, then to streamline the claims process by placing businesses into categories in the hopes that business damages can be compared, all for the purpose of speeding up the process.
Perhaps in an attempt to once again try to show good faith, he went against BP’s wishes a week ago and waived the requirement that wages paid to fisherman for helping with the cleanup be deducted from their emergency payments.
That’s nice and all, but as we continue to watch people suffer, losing their homes, their businesses, their families and their means of employment, all as a result of British Petroleum’s oil spill and through no fault of their own, more must be done. Health risks continue to rise in the Gulf Coast, both mental health and medical and these costs will not only increase in time, but in many cases those incurring these costs no longer have health insurance either from loss of income, or loss of employment or businesses that helped provide coverage. Again, the people of the Gulf Coast didn’t ask for British Petroleum to fuck up their lives. They didn’t ask for BP to dump 4.1 million barrels of oil into the Gulf to coat their futures in crude.
It is time for Feinberg to really make things right in the Gulf. It is time now for him to finally waive the “no-sue” clause; the residents of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida deserve, and should be entitled to this much. Let them receive their emergency payments, a final payment from the fund, and should the problems in the Gulf persist with the ecosystem, their home environments or their own mental and physical health, make British Petroleum liable.
Make it possible for Gulf Coast residents to sue British Petroleum even if accepting “final” payments from the fund.
Don’t let British Petroleum walk away from their responsibility.
They broke it. They bought it.
Like BP, Feinberg needs to make amends for his false promises. He stated his disbursements would be more generous than any court and this has not been the case. This rationale for preventing people from suing the oil company is as hollow as his 24 hour “guarantee.”
Waive the no-sue clause because the people of the Gulf Coast don’t know their future, stop trying to make them guess.
Have a nice day.