After the Deepwater Horizon exploded 16 months ago, the people of the Gulf Coast were made a successive series of promises by the government, by British Petroleum and then by the administrator of the GCCF, Ken Feinberg. In their own ways, each entity promised to make the Gulf Coast whole again…first through clean-up, then through reparations and ultimately by claiming precautions and new guidelines would be put in place so something as devastating as the BP oil spill could never happen again. All of these promises have been beset in some respect by failure.
The use of Corexit dispersant which may have made things worse, the fact that sixteen months later there is still oil in the marshes and tar balls washing up on still closed beaches, the failure of promises made to participants in the VoO program, all combined with Barack Obama’s seeming forgetfulness of promises made to an entire region, symbolized by his lack of mention in his most recent State of the Union speech and then Congress’s walk back from initially harsh criticism of British Petroleum and promises of new laws and regulations…and now, the region is still left with the economic stain of the GCCF’s many failures across four states: low-balled payments, denial of health claims based on stricter guidelines than Feinberg used in previous claims programs, his admitted denial of legitimate claims for people who lack documentation and sixteen months later, far too many people still wait for payments, not hand-outs, not charity, but compensation for the damages they suffered as a result of a catastraphuk they never asked for, but continue to live with.
Is it getting better in the Gulf?
Should it be much better than it is, are people still struggling as a result of this disaster while British Petroleum continues to make billions of dollars in profit and continues to pay Feinberg’s law firm millions of dollars in salary?
So in six months the trial begins.
“The trial over last year’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster will unfold in three phases and will start as scheduled on Feb. 27, 2012, U.S. District Court Judge Carl Barbier said Friday. Barbier said at a monthly status conference in the oil spill litigation that he will issue an order soon sketching out plans for next year’s trial over liability in the disaster. His plan most closely resembles the proposal submitted by Anadarko Petroleum Co., which held a 25 percent ownership stake in the ill-fated Macondo well. “I fully intend this trial will start as scheduled on Feb. 27, 2012,” said Barbier, who was appointed to the federal bench by President Bill Clinton in 1998.”
The first phase of the trial will examine the roles of various companies in the explosion, the loss of control, the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon and the beginning flow of oil. The second phase will cover the attempts to shut down the well and how much oil was lost while the third will deal with the liability of the clean-up, the dispersants, the skimming and the boom used to cope with the spilled oil.
Also covered on Friday by Carl Barbier were the beginnings into an examination of the VoO program. Nearly one hundred boat owners have filed a complaint with the court alleging BP’s VoO program was a corrupt conspiracy that left “thousands of participants … holding the bag for millions of dollars of unpaid services, equipment, materials, repairs and decontaminations” – and that BP intended it that way.
“Lead plaintiff Clyde Crawford says BP promised the plaintiffs $1,200 to $3,000 a day to use their boats during the cleanup. Crawford says the plaintiffs signed contracts promising to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and that BP told them told several times that they would be paid their daily rate even on days they were not called to work.” According to the 111 page complaint, “BP promised to pay for all repairs needed as the result of the work, and to pay for decontaminating the boats when their work was done…but the fishermen say the whole Vessels of Opportunity program was a corrupt conspiracy….'[Defendants] BP, Parsons Corporation, Danos & Curole, HEPACO, U.S. Environmental Services and the individual defendants have engaged in an illegal and unlawful conspiracy to defraud plaintiffs and underpay plaintiffs for services, equipment, materials, repairs and decontaminations related to the VoO program and the oil spill response,’ says the complaint.”
Judge Barbier on Friday said that he stands ready to appoint someone to deal with disputes arising out of the VoO program, “This could expand,” he said. “I’m not sure how many of these Vessels of Opportunity cases could be out there.”
So, here comes the judge, and it would appear, along with the independent audit of the GCCF promised by US Attorney General, Eric Holder, the judge may just be what the Gulf Coast needs…
Especially when we read articles such as:
Some Amnesia Over Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill: where Tommy Beadreau, senior advisor to the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement states, “”In the United States, in our political environment, we’ve already seen in some circles a little bit of amnesia when it comes to the spill — the reasons for it and the effects of it.” Because, in case you forgot, we have a House of Representatives who would appear to have never seen a regulation or a federal level environmental agency they haven’t wanted to either destroy or defund.
So, the Gulf Coast is left with Judge Barbier and the attorneys.
So, here’s hoping the right thing is finally done and this region eventually gets made whole, once and for all. If BP, Obama and Feinberg won’t do it, maybe the courts finally will.
Read the article:
Have a nice day.