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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

An Unholy Alliance - Gulf Drilling to Pay for Gulf Cleanup - BP Not Denying, Just Not Paying Nearly 40,000 Oil Spill Claims

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Obama administration and BP are near a deal in which the oil company would use revenues from future Gulf drilling to pay for its $20 billion cleanup and compensation fund. That would mean both the Obama administration and BP would have an interest in maintaining the company’s Gulf operations.

Sometimes you need to pollute the Gulf of Mexico in order to save it?  Doesn't that remind you of giving your lunch money to the bully so he doesn't beat you up?

Discussions continue, however, on how BP will guarantee its remaining obligation of $17 billion. At one point in the negotiations, the two sides discussed securing the fund with BP's oil fields in the Gulf, but the government didn't want to end up owning wells, said one person familiar with the situation.

Just what we need, not only would the US, that is you and me - we the people - own Big Banks and Big Auto, we would all become JR Ewings - Texas oil men.  Nothing against Texas oil men, but do we really want to be in the oil business?

Such a deal could provoke a backlash on Capitol Hill, where some lawmakers are moving to bar BP from operating in the Gulf. Legislation approved by the House of Representatives in July would effectively prohibit the government from issuing new offshore oil leases or drilling permits to the oil company by adding a roster of requirements BP couldn't satisfy.

BP said Monday it had received 145,000 claims from residents and business owners citing lost income because of the massive spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and had paid out $324 million without denying a single claim.  That sounds pretty good, until frustrated residents and officials point out that 39,000 claims are in limbo – some of them have been there for months. Some that have been paid are only partial payments, and many of those people are still fighting for more money.

"Therein lies the problem," Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood said recently. "They don't deny them. They just hold them open forever."
Sounds like the bully has our lunch money and still threatens to beat us up.
Mitch Jurisich, a Plaquemines Parish, La., oyster farmer, compared the claims process to dealing with the Federal Emergency Management Agency after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 – "so similar it's pitiful," he said.

"I'm still sitting here sending paperwork after paperwork trying to get my first paycheck," Jurisich said of his spill claim. "I feel I've had to give more paperwork for this than I would have to give the IRS in an audit. I'm losing confidence on a daily basis."

Promises are always easy.  Living up to them is the hard part.

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