Feinberg testified thursday at a hearing before the House Committee on Natural Resources that new rules will be created to make payouts more generous for the Gulf Coast shrimpers suffering through this, and possibly future terrible seasons.
“I think we’ve got to do better for the shrimpers,” Feinberg said.
It was a rare concession from Feinberg, that perhaps things aren’t going as swimmingly in the Gulf as the GCCF estimated they would by now, and even though he said he hopes to announce the new rules in two weeks, shrimpers remain skeptical about what they will entail.
Feinberg can say he’ll increase payments to shrimpers, “but I’ll have to see it to believe it,” said Allen Estay, owner of Bluewater Shrimp Company, “They’re going to have their rules and regulations.”
And that skepticism is warranted.
Though Feinberg testified he has paid $5.5 billion dollars to 213,408 claimants, some members of the house committee wanted to know why over 300,000 had been denied.
Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., said that despite assurances from the White House following the oil spill that BP would be held fully accountable “that does not appear to be the case.” He said the number of people paid to date, considering how many have applied for money, is “simply unacceptable.”
And from an article in Houma Today:
“Many locals in the shrimp industry say they’ve lost faith in the man heading the claims facility, who has attended many meetings in Terrebonne and Lafourche, talked to many of them firsthand about their troubles and made many promises that never materialized.
Dean Blanchard, owner of Grand Isle Seafood, a shrimp processing company, said he was in Washington watching the committee meeting Thursday.
“(Feinberg) is a nice guy, the problem is he won’t work with us,” Blanchard said.
Rep. Steven Palazzo R-Miss also questioned Feinberg about the fund, “the $20 billion was supposed to be the floor, not the ceiling.”
And from a recent AP article:
An Associated Press review published in February that included interviews with legal experts, government officials and more than 300 Gulf residents found a process beset by red tape and delay, and at the center of it all a fund administrator whose ties to BP have raised questions about his independence.
Critics say little has improved since then, and in some cases has gotten worse.
Many observers worry a big chunk of the $20 billion will be returned to BP when the Gulf Coast Claims Facility ceases making payouts, which is currently scheduled for August 2013. At one point, Feinberg told reporters that he expected half of the fund to be sufficient to compensate all victims. He took considerable heat for making that prediction, and he has declined to speculate on the issue in the months since then.
Yes, skepticism abounds…but how bad has it gotten?
“It might sound strange to say, but if Ken Feinberg would quit today and they turned (the claims fund) over to BP, I’d celebrate,” said David Chauvin, co-owner of Mariah Jade Shrimp Company.
Put British Petroleum back in charge of paying damages?
Man, that’s pretty bad, even for Feinberg.
Read the articles:
Shrimpers skeptical of claims chief’s promise
Oil spill claims czar: Shrimpers’ pain continues
Have a nice day.
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