I’ve been writing a lot over the past few months about Kenneth Feinberg and the failings of the GCCF. Some might even say I’ve become obsessed, but no, not really…it’s just that it’s become increasingly apparent that the Gulf Coast Claims Facility is the third tragedy in five years to hit the Gulf Coast, after Katrina and the Army Corps of Engineer’s levees and after the explosion of British Petroleum’s Deepwater Horizon, the ensuing oil flow and their ill-advised use of Corexit dispersant.
So much has gone wrong that didn’t need to. So many promises were made by Feinberg and his ilk that have not had the necessary follow through, and so much of it done from an opaque shell where transparency, when it should have been the rule in any sort of arbitrator’s methods, has been a rare exception.
I’ve commented often that many officials should do something about Feinberg and his claims process, from the Justice Department to Congress to Barack Obama…but, I’ve been forgetting someone, or something. Call me crazy, but…wanna know who really has the power to see to it Feinberg makes fair and just payments to anyone directly and indirectly harmed by this spill, to make sure the payments are truly fair enough to keep people out of the courts?
Yeah, I know…why would a company who has been conveniently using Feinberg as the fall guy to hide behind suddenly step up and do anything to improve the claims process?
How about…because that is what they promised to do, made commercials to show they were doing, spoke about in press conferences, in interviews, to anyone who would listen…a promise to make things right.
British Petroleum could make sure everyone who needs it gets adequate health care. They could make sure subsistence claims are paid, that it is easy for people to understand forms. British Petroleum could make sure interim payments and final payments err on the side of being generous, that the process is completely transparent, that everyone has enough to eat, that nobody has to lose a business, a house, a family.
British Petroleum has the power to do all of this, and they said they would when they made their famous PR promise.
Now, I don’t write this because I expect it to happen. Please…I’m way too cynical and we’ve all witnessed way too much damage done over the years in the name of corporate profit to believe that when BP made this promise they meant anything other than making things right, enough. Just enough ’til the media goes away, ’til the pressure stops, ’til we can find someone for everyone to demonize instead of us.
I also don’t write this to give Ken Feinberg a break…he’s been a clusterphuk of his own for a number of months now, and too many people are paying the price for his off the cuff, kinda sort apologies about delays and everything else.
No, I simply write this to remind those of us, myself included, who forget for even a second that the real villain here is the corporation that stands behind Feinberg and the GCCF, and says nothing.
And that would be Robert Dudley and British Petroleum.
With a phone call, they can initiate the repair of the claims process to ensure that not one person or family falls through the cracks in this mess they created…but for the sake of their bottom line, they won’t even consider picking up the phone.
Lest we forget, the curtain needs to pulled aside, or better yet to be set on fire so nobody forgets for a moment… British Petroleum is not living up to their promises or their responsibilities to the Gulf Coast.
Have a nice day.