BP is delaying its settlement of claims until Kenneth Feinberg, the independent administrator appointed by President Obama to oversee the compensation process, takes over the claims system in mid-August. BP is using the Oil Pollution Act (OPA) as its guideline in determining who will get paid. The OPA is a 1990 federal law that holds oil companies responsible for covering direct “removal costs and damages” from a spill, without telling claimants why their claims were put on hold. According to BP the following groups are being delayed until Feinberg takes over the claims system: restaurants or tourism businesses not located in close proximity to an oiled beach or marsh, workers affected by the moratorium, seafood processors outside the Gulf Coast states, and values of property not located in close proximity to a beach that was oiled. BP is continuing to process claims for the following groups: restaurants or tourism businesses located in close proximity to a beach or marsh that has been oiled, fisherman, shrimpers, oyster harvesters, etc., and charter boat operators who have been affected by the oil, seafood processors in the affected area who do not have any seafood to process and condo units located on beaches that have been closed due to oil. It’s not surprising to see BP use the law to their benefit here. It’s just the beginning of their tactic to stall and delay. Is Feinberg anymore capable than BP to determine who needs to be compensated? BP to date has made 87,100 payments to claimants in the total amount of $266 million. That works out to $3,054 per claimant. Is that enough for any business or family to survive on over a 120 day period since this disaster began?
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