BP tries to escape compensating Gulf disaster victims

Source Al Jazeera

Oil giant BP is paying Washington-based law firm Feinberg Rosen $850,000 a month to administer a $20 billion compensation fund and claims process for Gulf residents and fishermen affected by the Deepwater Horizon explosion last April. The Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF), which Feinberg manages, was set up after negotiations between BP and the Obama administration, but over recent months there has been growing concern among the Coast's residents that Feinberg is limiting compensation funds to claimants in order to decrease BP's liability. Late last month, attorney Kenneth Feinberg told Bloomberg Television that he anticipates that only about half of that $20 billion fund should be enough to cover claims for economic losses. Gulf residents are angry. Rudy Toler from Gulfport, Mississippi is a fourth generation fisherman. He submitted 62 pages of documentation to the GCCF, but says: "My claim got denied on December 4, with about 100,000 other people." The GCCF, which also covers cleanup and remediation costs, has received more than 468,000 claims and has paid about $2.7 billion to approximately 170,000 claimants (about one-third of those who have submitted claims) in the last four months. Most of the claims that have been paid are only temporary emergency payments.