Feinberg just changed the rules again.
On Tuesday, he added a rules modification to the GCCF claims process, designed to tighten payout criteria. “It is clear, that as time passes, it becomes increasingly difficult to determine whether changes in revenue and earnings are due to the oil spill or other factors,” the notice said.
Clear…how clear exactly?
Those (both business and individual) who continue to file interim claims must now show a 5% increase in revenue growth from 2010 to qualify for full compensation from the claims fund. Feinberg reports that businesses along the Gulf Coast are increasing their revenue on average by 10% so this 5% should be no problem, is certainly generous, and whereas this might be more accurate for those in the tourist industry, for those in the fishing industry it is less so. In justifying this growth rate for the fishing industry, Feinberg reports all federal and nearly all state fishing grounds have been reopened, there have been increases in the catch of shrimp the first four months of 2011 and a solid harvest of menhaden is expected, so all will now be well for the fishermen to continue on, recovered. Their revenue must grow by 5%, or they will not be fully compensated because any growth less than that cannot be blamed on British Petroleum and their oil spill, not anymore.
Remember back in February when the final methodology came out and Feinberg refused to compensate workers affected by the drilling moratorium because said moratorium wasn’t directly attributable to BP? Well, using this same logic, if the general impression across the country is that the seafood in the Gulf of Mexico isn’t safe and nobody wants to buy it, that isn’t BP’s fault either.
The fact that the moratorium happened, and the impression that Gulf seafood is our country’s newest carcinogen is surely not related to any oil spill.
Not at all…
I read report after report from shrimpers talking about the small catch, about the size of the shrimp themselves and how their catch was oftentimes rotting on the dock because people didn’t want to buy it. Some shrimpers were even calling for the season to be cancelled altogether.
Did their revenues increase by 5% from 2010?
Maybe, maybe not.
What about the seafood processors?
What about claimants making interim subsistence claims?
And, what happens in the future, if this oil spill has worked its way into the food supply, if the fish lesions don’t go away, if the oil found in crab larvae doesn’t disappear, if a hurricane stirs this whole mess up all over again?
In any case, the rules on interim claims just got a lot tighter, and much more complicated.
However, if this all concerns you, perhaps you might rest easier knowing that when it comes to this growth rate, Feinberg has estimated that 75% of the businesses and individuals in the Gulf will experience a 5.6% growth rate. Also, he estimates by way of previous disasters that the Gulf will recover 70% the first year and 30% the next. Oh, and when it comes to those unemployed by this spill, he now states that unemployment benefits as a result of the spill will end after 78 weeks, and his analysis shows this will cover 95% of the people without jobs.
For any of you slipping through these cracks? Well, Feinberg and BP have made you whole enough.
But back to the interim claims:
Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood has alleged that Feinberg, rather than paying interim claims, is attempting to coerce Gulf Coast claimants into accepting final claims which require they sign away their rights to sue British Petroleum for future damages. A month ago, British Petroleum made demands that Feinberg stop paying all future claims because the Gulf Coast has recovered.
As a result of these new modifications to the rules, it would appear that while Feinberg insisted Jim Hood was wrong, he thought his employers, British Petroleum, might just be right.
And anyone slipping through the percentages?
Read the rule changes:
Have a nice day.