In August, fresh oil slicks are discovered near the Macondo well site. BP denies they are there. The Coast Guard denies they are there. Bonnie Shumaker, pilot for Wings of Care flies out and takes pictures, proving the oil is there. BP then admits the oil is there as does the Coast Guard, after confirming BP admitted it too, but both say the oil is not from the Macondo reservoir. Then reporters from the Alabama Press Register take a boat out to the slicks, take samples, have it tested and sure enough, it is from the Macondo reservoir.
BP responds to this by sending an ROV down to look at the well-head. They don’t release the video, but they assure everyone still paying attention the well-head isn’t leaking, nope…not at all…it must be residual oil being released from the collapsed pipes and equipment on the seafloor. In response, Transocean sends an ROV down to check the collapsed pipes and equipment and says…nope, no oil leaking from there.
And this month, BP denies they are still checking into this oil. Then a pilot flies over, and confirms several large oil-related vessels operating at the surface above the Macondo well. BP says…oh, those ships, and yes, they then confirm they are conducting a study to track the oil from seabed to surface.
Track what from where?
In an emailed statement late Friday, a representative from BP verified that several vessels are in the vicinity of the Macondo well: “There are several vessels there participating in a study of natural oil seeps. This study has been ongoing for the past month or so. Data continues being collected and we provided an update on the natural oil seeps at the SETAC [Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry] conference in Boston this week. … The study is documenting the specific locations of these seeps and is seeking to track oil flow from seabed to surface,” BP wrote.
Natural oil seeps?
To which Stuart Smith, a New Orleans attorney replies:
If there are seeps in the area, they are not natural. I can assure you of that. BP was required to conduct a seafloor survey prior to applying for a permit to drill. If these seeps were not discovered during the survey – which they apparently weren’t – they must be related to the disaster and the heavy-handed methods used to attempt to seal the well.
To which BP quickly responds:
When we used the word “natural,” we meant it in the way that plastic surgery is meant to “naturally” erase the effects of aging, a bit of botox, a brow-lift, a cheekbone implant, a face-lift, a slight ear raise, and then the smallest of nose jobs…and voila! The seafloor is naturally leaking oil, natural as a smile from Jack Nicholson’s Joker…
Or in other words…
Robin: “Natural” is to nature, like animals are in nature and animals have fat…and this fat can be used to make soap and when we use soap, we typically are trying to remove dirt from our skin and what is skin but a part of the human body which is composed of 70% water, water like what’s found in the Gulf of Mexico…and all that Gulf water is above the seafloor…the seafloor! So what does it mean, Batman?”
Batman: “Obviously Boy Wonder, it means we need to have done what Stuart Smith suggests…a full survey of the seafloor around the Macondo Well so we will finally know what the hell is going on down there…”
Drake: “Seriously, how many times does BP get to creatively tell the truth?”
In Alaska, whereas they have not suffered a spill as extreme as the one the company unleashed on the Gulf Coast, they have become quite familiar with this oil company’s pattern of negligence, their complete focus on profits and the willingness to let lawyers attempt to clean up the messes left behind by their poor safety conduct. Now, federal prosecutors are asking a judge to revoke BP’s probation from a conviction in 2007, stating the company is a recidivist offender and repeatedly, negligently discharges oil into the environment.
The hearing will be on November 29th in Anchorage…where surely they will examine:
Prosecutors said in their brief that BP’s history of environmental crimes in Alaska began in February 2001 when it pleaded guilty to releasing hazardous materials at its Endicott facility on the North Slope. The company was fined $500,000, placed on probation for five years and ordered to create a nationwide environmental management program, prosecutors said.
The March 2006 spill of 200,000 gallons of crude (in Prudhoe Bay) was caused by corrosion, and BP’s leak detection system failed to notice it, prosecutors said. The company’s guilty plea to a misdemeanor violation of the Clean Water Act in 2007 resulted in three years of probation, a $12 million fine, and restitution and community service payments totaling $8 million to the state of Alaska and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, BP attorneys said.
Prosecutors contend BP violated the conditions of its probation by allowing the 2009 spill from an 18-inch pipe moving oil, water and gas from drill pads to BP’s Lisburne Processing Center. That spill, prosecutors said, leaked 13,500 gallons of oil onto tundra and wetlands. “This rupture was the result of a predictable and preventable freezing of produced water within the pipeline that caused the pipe to over-pressurize and burst,” prosecutors said. It was eerily similar to the 2006 spill, prosecutors alleged, because BP ignored alarms that warned of the pipe’s eventual rupture and leak. The 2009 spill also followed a similar pipe freezing and rupture in 2001, they said, and BP failed to put in place preventative measures that their own experts recommended.
Prosecutors said the spill site directly abuts Prudhoe Bay and the damaged wetlands are covered by the Clean Water Act. They also contend the spill criminally violated state pollution laws because of BP negligence.
It should be noted for those in Louisiana and the Gulf Coast, it is expressly this type of pattern that BP recently requested be rendered inadmissible in the trial for the events concerning the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon, asking Judge Barbier to exclude not only these convictions, but the convictions surrounding the explosion of their oil refinery in Texas City which killed several workers…because such facts are, you know, prejudicial and shows British Petroleum’s irresponsible and unsafe actions to be well, irresponsible and unsafe.
Barbier has yet to give his decision on the matter, but along with hoping BP’s probation is revoked, here’s hoping Judge Barbier recognizes it’s time for this company, finally, to really pay for their horrendous actions, for their record to be laid bare in the court and for them to pay not only through the nose, but every other available orifice, two times.
But you know, I fear even that won’t be enough.
Eleven men died on the Deepwater Horizon. Fifteen died and over 170 were injured in the explosion of BP’s refinery at Texas City.
Some court of law, somewhere, some time needs to send some of these bastards to prison: two explosions – twenty-six people dead.
Jail does need to happen. It’s the only way BP’s behaviors will change, simply because if these pricks can afford to throw out $20 billion, (how much of which are U.S. government subsidies?) to pay damages for the consequences of their behavior, how else will they understand the criminality of their actions until the people of the Gulf Coast and Alaska can finally line-up on visiting day and take their turns spitting in the face of those convicted for the actions leading to the death of their loved ones and the destruction of their environment and livelihoods?
Because right now, the only thing BP’s getting for their behavior is more money.
So for the jail thing, I pick Bob and Tony.
I know, a no-brainer, but what can I say? I like to keep it simple, and I’m thinking rather than continue making millions of dollars in salary, these two begin to pay for their negligence, and for their lies and their pattern of violence against the people of the United States, and environment we live in.
Last summer, when the Macondo Well was still flowing, the US government allowed British Petroleum to keep the press out of the immediate, oil impacted areas. A number of reasons were given at the time…encroachment on private property, safety of cleanup workers, or keeping press boats from running over boom meant to contain the oil.
These reasons were all bullshit, of course.
Hell, at first they even tried to deny they were attempting a media blackout, but what it all comes down to is a private company, with government ascent was allowed to restrict the rights of the press, thus negating much information and imagery that we, as American citizens have a right to read and witness, to be informed about.
And this media blackout is not an anomaly, it is part of a larger overall pattern, evidenced again by the eviction from Zucotti Park of the Occupy Wall Street protestors. When the NYPD entered the park, they also attempted to keep the media out, keep them from documenting the raid:
At a news conference after the park was cleared Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg defended the police behavior, saying that the media was kept away “to prevent a situation from getting worse and to protect members of the press.”
Some members of the media said they wereshoved by the police. As the police approached the park they did not distinguish between protesters and members of the press, said Lindsey Christ, a reporter for NY1, a local cable news channel. “Those 20 minutes were some of the scariest of my life,” she said. Ms. Christ said that police officers took a New York Post reporter standing near her and “threw him in a choke-hold.”
Journalists were arrested, pepper-sprayed and beaten by the police, to keep them safe, protected, out of harms way…again, bullshit. It was an obvious attempt to hide what the police were doing, and how they were doing it. Much like British Petroleum tried to keep images of the oil spill from the mainstream press, or limit them however they could to better enable BP to construct the narrative, Mayor Bloomberg and the NYPD do a similar thing, keeping images from the press knowing full well that more images of the NYPD beating down or pepper spraying protestors would provoke greater sympathy and hamstring their ability to say whatever they like about how the events occurred.
Facts and law are not important…in fact, laws are mere guidelines, something for lawyers to argue about later…
Laws are something for the people to follow, not for those who see themselves in charge…
Press freedom and the rights entailed therein are handed down, controlled from on high – not from the courts, but by larger business interests, politicians and their police departments…
Yes, the great wealth divide in this country is not just about money and who has it, it’s also about who must follow the rule of law, who gets to be heard and by whom and who gets to be on the blunt end of the ongoing militarization of this country’s police departments.
From British Petroleum to Michael Bloomberg to one more police beat down of Berkeley college students…at what point do the laws of this country protect us and our freedoms, instead of protecting those who move so quickly to take these freedoms away in order to protect themselves?
I know I said I’d be back on Monday, so I’m late, my bad… been doing some thinking this week about the website, reading the news, hanging out, taking a break…etc…and the one thing I can’t seem to get out of my head is this…
The number of people from Transocean, Halliburton and British Petroleum who have spent a day in jail as a result of the eleven people who died on the Deepwater Horizon is zero. Nobody either from the former MMS, nobody from any level of government who should have been watching developments on the rig, nobody.
The number of people from the financial industry who have spent a day in jail as a result of the 2008 recession and the ensuing financial destruction is zero. Nobody from Goldman Sachs, Citi, Wells Fargo, Wall Street, Lehman Brothers, the Lynch, etc…nor did any of the elected representatives who saw fit to decrease regulations or cut money from and/or turned the SEC into a revolving door agency for members from the same financial institutions previously mentioned…nobody went to jail, zero.
So who did go to jail?
Well, for starters…at last count, 3,362 Americans protesting the abuses of the banks, the financial industries and in no small indirect way the behavior of corporations like British Petroleum, their abuses, have gone to jail.
And I would argue this number is well on the low side…bad financial times leads indirectly or directly to desperate acts, both large and small, everything from petty crime to drunken driving, increased domestic violence to increased drug use…and on and on…how many people have wound up in jail who otherwise wouldn’t have as a result of the recession or the financial destruction that came with the oil spill?
Hard to say.
It would be understandable for an outside observer to suggest the rule of law in this country ends as soon as one reaches a certain plateau of wealth.
Ah, but what does any of this have to do with the site, and any upcoming changes? Well, the upcoming changes would be contained within the above paragraphs…
Understandably, I write about what is most on my mind, and my mind is mostly in a couple of places… Corporate malfeasance and their enablers, especially in regards to the oil spill and the corrupt financial industry, and all of their combined attacks on the American public…which is quite easily reflected in my affection for two cities…New Orleans, who suffered the breach of the levees and along with the rest of the Gulf Coast, the disaster of the oil spill, and San Francisco, where Bank of America began as one man with an outdoor table-top making small loans after the 1906 earthquake, and where the Koch brothers and their parasitical empire now creep from…
All of these aforementioned institutions and entities seem to be working their hardest to make each and every one of us at a dollar(s) short, to their own benefit….be they business or government.
So I guess one might say, the site will be officially expanding in its range of subject matter and upcoming, will be focused on two geographic locations…The Gulf Coast, specifically New Orleans and the Bay Area, specifically San Francisco.
Have a nice day.
Oh, and how ’bout them Saints? Next week…the Falcons…have I mentioned how much I hate Atlanta?
This Friday, 2pm @ the CAC….please attend the press conference for the documentary film, The Big Fix. More info at the Krewe of Truth.
This film is extremely important as it’s the best chance the Gulf Coast has of exposing the truth of what’s actually happened in the wake of the BP oil spill. I will be at the presser shooting it…I think it’s important to document everything that has gone on in the wake of this spill in order to at least set the historic record straight.
If you haven’t already, check out his post from yesterday, including pictures taken of the oil, BP oil, still hitting the barrier islands off the coast of Mississippi…
In a shocking development affecting both the Gulf Coast and the nation, BP joined in with GOP finger pointing and now argue if they are required to tighten their belts any further, the same goes for the rest of the Gulf too. The oil company argued their case in a 29 page document made public Friday and filed with both the GCCF and the White House.
The company says the free ride is over, the Gulf is vastly improved so the time for fiscal responsibility is now, lest any more than necessary from the $20 billion oil spill fund be handed out to claimants and real deficit reduction for the Gulf Coast and this country becomes endangered.
A GOP spokesman reiterated the company’s position, “Spending is out of control and must be curtailed so BP and other corporate clients do not have their privileges endangered. Jobs are needed now and a rise in taxes will only curtail job creation from oil platforms across the Gulf to servants’ quarters across the Hamptons. Claimants, BP argues, though suffering from oil spill damages must give up their fair share of compensation now, or the country’s fiscal solvency and their childrens’ futures will be placed at the brink.
Though Ken Feinberg and the White House did not give an official response, several aides who wished to remain unidentified spoke with reporters late Friday afternoon, “It would certainly seem unreasonable at this late stage to end these payments,” said one, “We gave the GOP their no-sue clause and the extension of the Bush tax cuts and they gave us nothing. If we were now to put on the table Social Security cuts, the future feasibility of interim payments, or extra compensation to oyster fishers or even Medicare and Medicaid, what possible leverage would we have?”
Another undisclosed aide offered, “Feinberg and Obama have all but said if the latest studies find people have been poisoned by the oil they will have no recourse to the GCCF and in doing so, have not only already saved BP millions more in potential damages, but hinted to Cantor, Boehner and the rest of the Tea Party faithful their willingness to put the interests of corporations and the top 1% far above the needs of everyday Americans, and in response to these concession, BP then demanded the whole negotiation be moved even further to the right, more cuts, more savings, and not a dollar more revenue, non-negotiable.”
“The GOP wants to argue that British Petroleum creates jobs and therefore should not have to be taxed the entire $20 billion dollars,” added another, “but the simple fact is British Petroleum’s present problems are their own fault. Like investment bankers demanding spending cuts and government protection from the effects of the recession they caused, BP and the GOP seem to think people without jobs, or who need additional assistance should suffer so BP CEO’s and stockholders can hang onto their tax loopholes and private jets. This argument should be a non-starter.”
Other people outside of the White House also weighed in on the latest developments, James Carville, caught by one reporter seethed, “This is ridiculous! They’ve only just started studies into the health of the Gulf Coast, the GOP has done nothing about creating jobs, fishermen are finding red snapper with lesions that the NOAA says should be handled with gloves, the brown shrimp season was pathetic, unemployment is up and the housing market continues to suffer, tourism hasn’t reached pre-spill levels, sand dollars and starfish are turning up dead, some Louisiana beaches are still closed, we still got places that need cleaning, lives that need fixing and people who need to be paid, all while restoration of the coast has yet to even begin and BP is arguing that things are fine, things are improving? Well, why don’t we just throw Bob Dudley into the still remaining oil in Barataria Bay, see if that son of a bitch will float? If Ken Feinberg and Barack Obama do anymore sacrificing of the safety net, neither one will win a second term. They will have finally sold out everyone they were supposed to protect and in doing so changed the entire value system of this country!”
But not everyone was so dismissive of a compromise. In a statement by now Chicago mayor, Rahm Emanuel, uttered over steaks at Harry Carey’s, “Look, those Gulf Coast whiners can either get with the program or go the fuck home. We got an industry to save and a region that needs to learn the art of compromise. If they don’t like what our President and Ken Feinberg are doing to cover America’s butts and their futures, what are they gonna do, vote BP and GOP? I don’t fucking think so. Eat it, bitches…”
Despite continued White House talks outside of the public eye, it would appear negotiations have reached a standstill. British Petroleum and the GOP demand spending cuts their critics say will bolster the corporations and the wealthy at the expense of those harmed by the oil spill, and the elderly and by other Americans in need during this recession. Obama and Feinberg, seeming confident that they can work on their own legacies at the expense of same said Americans, appear to believe their core constituents will have no other option but to vote them a second term, no mater how painful the cuts they agree too might be.
In the opinion of this editor, it appears that both parties, and both BP and Feinberg make their decisions all while ignoring the clear polling numbers that say the majority of Americans believe the wealthy should pay higher taxes and BP should be forced to spend the entire $20 billion while entitlement programs and damages, both present and future should remain untouched and certainly not used as bargaining chips, demonstrating clearly how the GOP, BP, Barack Obama and Ken Feinberg continue to play legacy politics with peoples’ lives and futures at the behest of corporate interest in some sort of vacuum, where real people, American citizens are mere afterthought…no more than another batch of dead sand dollars washing up on the beaches of Florida.
Or, as Eric Cantor said about the tornado victims in Joplin, Missouri, any disaster assistance given to the victims, American citizens, will have to be offset by budget cuts elsewhere, or the emergency spending bill won’t be passed by Congress.
No longer breathing as citizens…be it the debt ceiling arguments by politicians, or disaster compensation by corporations and their employees, it would appear our function is that of a bargaining chip. The $20 billion dollar compensation fund, and the economy are there to be threatened by companies and politicians with persecution complexes, and an utter lack of respect for the suffering their decisions inflict on others.
For over a year now, ever since the oil spilled, the Gulf Coast has suffered from a deluge of promises that have been left unfulfilled. We hear talk of making things right, of actions not words, various members of Congress and a President declare their disgust with British Petroleum but all the same, pass no bills to change the unfortunate status quo and make it any safer. Ken Feinberg promises to be more generous than British Petroleum, makes claims to neutrality…also false. Residents were told Nalco’s corexit dispersant was safe as dish soap, the seafood is just fine and everything will be right by 2013.
No, no and no…
So, what might it take to change things around?
What would be necessary for there to finally be real accountability in the Gulf of Mexico?
How about a 100,000 Cheri Foytlins?
In an excellent piece written by Sue Stergis and appearing in Facing South, much of Cheri’s story is told:
Cheri, a reporter in Louisiana, feared the stories of Gulf Coast residents weren’t being heard after the disaster began so she travelled to Gulf communities where pollution was washing ashore, only to return to her home in Louisiana, 150 miles west of New Orleans suffering from severe headaches and respiratory problems. Her doctor diagnosed her with severe bronchitis, and when she asked him to conduct tests to see if her illness was linked to chemical exposure, her doctor refused.
This led her to involvement with the Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN), who did do the tests she requested and they found her blood levels of ethylbenzene were three times the national average. Ethylbenzene is a possible human carcinogen, linked to oil, and these results, along with her experiences led her into activism, determined to make the truth known.
And the truth is, it isn’t just oil in the water.
Corexit dispersant, used at unprecedented levels to combat the spill, also remains in the Gulf.
And a year later, the long-term effects of its use on people and the Gulf environment are as known today as they were when the Deepwater Horizon exploded…and that knowledge is scant at best. So where are the studies? “Organizational delays,” are being cited as reason why BP’s promised research funding has not yet been disbursed while the EPA, who has proposed additional research into dispersant toxicity and effectiveness for 2012 finds its agency on the Republican hit list, already facing $1.6 billion dollars in cuts.
It wouldn’t be inaccurate to say British Petroleum, Nalco (the producers of Corexit) and the government who okayed the dispersant’s use are in any hurry for such evaluations to be conducted..
Like Cheri Foytlin, other activists are of course involved in the Gulf, everyone from Kindra Arnesen, to Riki Ott, to Dr. Wilma Subra. All have a story to tell, and all want the nation to know that this catastrophe is not over, far from it…
Riki Ott, who had experience dealing with the Exxon Valdez, came to the Gulf Coast and has also been working with LEAN, and she makes a very valuable point, “Figuring out what to do together is the key.” She is currently educating people on the common symptoms associated with chemical exposure, symptoms being seen throughout the Gulf, from residents to cleanup workers, all with a growing pile of medical bills on their kitchen tables.
And British Petroleum isn’t paying.
Some might argue British Petroleum has done their part, by being engaged in the cleanup, or by creating the $20 billion dollar escrow account to help pay claims, but this is of course only half the story. A long list of people who worked in the VOO cleanup program still wait to be paid. British Petroleum wrote off $13 billion dollars in clean up costs with the IRS this year, effectively rendering the claims payouts of only $4 billion so far, moot, especially when Ken Feinberg, the arbitrator of the claims process has said on several occasions it is his belief he can complete the claims process and return half of the $20 billion escrow account to BP.
$13 billion back in taxes. $10 billion back from their escrow account. $4 billion paid so far to claimants.
Foreclosures, lost jobs, a questionable fishing and seafood industry, mental health problems and the host of suspicious sicknesses occurring now along the Gulf Coast: BP’s claims to accountability are nothing more than a sick joke. And British Petroleum will of course, try to deny their actions have anything to do with Gulf Coast illnesses, despite…again, from Sue Sturgis:
Wilma Subra — an award-winning environmental chemist who works with LEAN — conducted environmental analyses to document spill-related contamination. She analyzed air monitoring test data and confirmed that Gulf Coast residents were being exposed to potentially dangerous levels of airborne contaminants. She also conducted independent tests that confirmed the presence of significant levels of oil pollution in coastal soils and plants as well as in sea life. She’s also been sampling the blood of cleanup workers and coastal residents — and finding unusually high levels of contaminants associated with petroleum pollution in people’s bodies. “We are gathering evidence that I don’t believe you can dismiss,” says Marylee Orr, LEAN’s executive director.
The plight of cleanup workers, a year later, is being realized in countless stories of workers toiling in 100 degree heat with no training and no respirators and now suffering from debilitating illness, with unpaid medical bills, all being blamed on exposure to oil and toxic dispersants. Cleanup workers are suffering from symptoms such as respiratory distress, memory loss, continuing heart palpitations, headaches, sore throats, rashes and coughs.
From Roosevelt Love:
“We worked 12 hours a day seven days a week picking up boom and cleaning up oil. I saw people who passed out from working out there. But we were told not to complain or talk to the press about it or we would be fired. You started to feel like you were being used.”
From Janet Hennessey:
“It made me sick,” Janet says. “I often would have to stop while driving to work and vomit on the side of the road. We had to clean up the oil and maggots and algae would be all over the place. There were hundreds of people working there. And we never saw a respirator.” Janet says she still feels sick and she fears that the oil she brought home on her clothes may have contributed to health problems her granddaughter now experiences.
All healthy people previously, all sharing one thing in common, cleanup along the Gulf Coast…yet their medical bills remain unpaid.
This is not accountability, and it demands that people affected be heard.
Cheri Foytlin, to draw attention to the illnesses occurring in the Gulf, recently walked from New Orleans to Washington DC. There she joined a group that presented BP with a bill for $9.9 billion dollars. And now, Cheri knows this fight will have to go on…
“We’re going to keep fighting,” says Foytlin. “This is going to be a lifelong project for me.”
And it will have to be…
British Petroleum, in no small part due to their tax write-offs are again making profits…and by their own projections, will be back in the Gulf of Mexico drilling for oil before the year is over. It’s quickly becoming business as usual for a company that devastated an entire region and continues to shrug off its responsibilities, actions allowed to happen by a government that despite a lot of angry words and condemning speeches, accomplished nothing to require the oil extraction to be any safer.
Masses of people, activists and those so harmed may be the only thing the government and British Petroleum are finally forced to listen to…and I suspect angry masses of people might also assist the thousands of residents who still wait for word from Feinberg… and wonder when/if they can get back to business as usual like British Petroleum has so successfully done. They also might wonder why the promises made over the past year by the corporations and their politicians have turned out to be just one more batch of oil sunk by one more round of disperants, the promises may linger in mind but they were quickly disappeared into the Gulf, even as the waves still bring tar balls ashore.
What the Gulf needs is 100,000 more Cheri Foytlins, people working together to bring those promises back…
“If you charter the ‘Searose’ for a day from Dunedin City Marina, you’re bound to catch a bouquet of fish for dinner. Captain Dan Adams, who sits at her controls, says the start to the summer has been good.
“We’re right in our season,” explained Adams. But Adams’ small, fishing charter business is still hurting from last summer, when he says he lost 90% of his clients during the Gulf oil spill. His BP claim is in the tens of thousands of dollars. The one-year Gulf oil spill anniversary came and went and Adams’ BP claim went unpaid. Then, the check came.
“My first check from GCCF since last July and it was for a whopping $14.89 cents,” he said while showing us the check.”
Even though the GCCF eventually got around to making a more substantial final offer, Adams feels it’s still far too low, and like many others has felt it necessary to contact his local officials for help.
“Lenny Stamos, owner of Beach Cyclists in St. Pete Beach, said he sent in five years of sales tax returns to document his $34,000 loss for last summer. The agency turned down his emergency claim for insufficient documentation, he said. He’s represented by a lawyer.
“My wife and I borrowed $30,000 on our credit cards to keep the business going,” Stamos said.
A claims agent told him he didn’t see any emergency if they had money to borrow, he said.”
And at a news conference on Monday, Ken Feinberg bristled as to why his office has approved $3.8 billion dollars from the $20 billion dollar fund while rejecting thousands of claims…
Keep bristling, Ken…
At least until you answer some basic questions, such as – when will you finally open the books so people can find out what is going on with the GCCF…or, why is it when reporter after reporter continues to find people the GCCF has done wrong, you shrug it away, saying:
The GCCF isn’t perfect…
Yes, we’ve made mistakes…
We’re handling a lot of claims…
Hey Ken, we know this already, and these answers aren’t sufficient.
If you can’t figure out why these mistakes are being made, why people are being left behind…open the books and give somebody else a try…because your lack of payments are hurting people, hurting them badly. As long as there is a dollar left in that escrow account, the money should keep going out – one person losing a business, losing a house, or one family who’s had to break things up for awhile, is simply one too many.
It certainly doesn’t make things right, no…not at all.
From Danielle Thomas, an attorney with a legal aid group, who has been assisting people with their GCCF claims:
“These people are still really, really hurting…bills are coming due, or they’re already way past due. They’re borrowing from friends and families. There are people living out of cars with their children… It’s unbearable for people.”
From Ken Feinberg, administrator of the BP fund:
“I’m doing my best…the program is not perfect, but I think we are achieving what BP and the administration wanted to see done.”
And that is, exactly what?
British Petroleum appears to have been about cutting costs, from their actions on the Deepwater Horizon to their commitment to the Gulf Coast after the oil spilled…be it trying to influence the scientific research into what caused the spill, to the lowballing of flow rates from the Macondo Well, to their recently stated denial of responsibility in paying to reseed oyster beds which were damaged while combating the spill.
So, if it appears BP and the administration are just trying to save money and/or pretend the Gulf Coast doesn’t exist, and this is what Feinberg says he is trying to achieve…it might explain why he is constantly trying to rewrite the narratives of what is happening with claimants every time a journalist asks him a question.
Take, for example, his continued explanations on why so many people are taking the quick pay option which pays only $500o dollars to individuals and $25,000 to businesses, and requires them to sign away their rights to sue BP for future damages:
“Feinberg believes people…either received an emergency payment last year and feel “adequately compensated” already, or they simply lack the proper documentation to prove further damages. If people were being pushed into quick payments, “you would think there would be a flood of citizen complaints in the Gulf,” he said, “and we haven’t seen that.”
He hasn’t seen a flood of citizen complaints?
I find this hard to believe considering he has repeatedly stated in the press that he’s read the well over 3000 comments submitted to the GCCF website during the Final Claims Methodology public comment period.
Go ahead, take a look for yourselves. I do think that unlike Feinberg, you’ll find many, many people saying that after reading the methodology, they’re considering the quick pay claims because the continued stalling has made them financially desperate, also, just so they can be done with the GCCF for good.
Comments such as:
Feb 16th – “I started a business five years ago that was successful prior to the oil spill, and now It may not make it another year without your assistance. I’m just trying to live the american dream and have something to pass on to my children. This methodology you proposed is just a delay and a scare tactic, you are playing poker with our lives. This methodology is so unfair it now looks good to individuals and business to take the quick pay, you hold all the money and the cards. What a sorry business man you are. We will not go down without a fight. Do the right thing and you may sleep better at night.”
And, of all the comments on the GCCF website, I would challenge Feinberg to find 1%, or 30 of them from claimants who state they have been “fairly compensated.”
So yes, like the price of gas and faulty cleanup efforts, and like the giveaway to Wall Street and large investment banks, and like the way GCCF’s claims process is being handled, it would appear that British Petroleum, the administration and Ken Feinberg are all on the same page when attempting to screw the residents of the Gulf Coast, in the accustomed Feinbergian ways:
1. If you repeat a lie often enough, people who aren’t paying close attention will start to believe it.
2. The way to deal with residents harmed by the oil spill is to stall them into submission, or at least until the media, and the claimants themselves are forced to simply give up and go away.
In the press, Feinberg can say he is doing a good job all he wants, but his narrative, just like British Petroleum’s “Making Things Right” commercials, is nothing more than a well-produced spin tactic.
And in the real world, we refer to spin by it’s more proper name: lies.