Anger and Frustration Bubble Over in Gulf: Spill Victims Organize Protests to Force Claims Facility to Provide Answers


Grassroots protests start small, and we’re starting to see them organize around the Gulf over the inefficiencies and frustrations of Ken Feinberg’s claims process.

WALA-TV out of Mobile is reporting on just such a protest this Friday (Oct. 29) at the Foley Gulf Coast Claims Facility by victims who have simply had enough – not just regarding non-payment of their claims, but on the complete inability to get any answers about anything.

Reporter Matt Barrentine talks on-camera with Tosh Peters who explains that his marine construction business “has been shut down since May and he can’t get any word on his claim.”

“We’ve done everything the claims center asked, we’ve filed every paper they’ve asked,” Peters said. “We’re 60 days today, waiting to get an answer.” Says Mr. Barrentine: “Protestors like Peters said the lack of answers is the most frustrating part of the process. They want claims czar, Kenneth Feinberg, back down on the coast so they can get some of those answers.”

WALA-TV has been following several area residents who are frustrated to the breaking point – including some who had to close their businesses and now believe BP has “bought” those operations. Not surprisingly, some victims are demanding fair pre-spill market value for their now-bankrupt enterprises. As the claims process stumbles on, we’re going to see more and more businesses going under – and it’s unclear if those types of damages will fall under “emergency” payments, or if bankrupted victims will have to face yet another process for “final” payments.

Why have we not seem more widespread protests? Well, our friends from Alaska warned us that the Big Oil strategy would likely include making some payments, nearly at random, while creating as much confusion and chaos as possible. That way, a sort of false hope keeps victims from taking action because, hey, maybe they are next to get paid. People are scared to speak out for fear of jeopardizing their chances of ever being made whole.

What we’re seeing with these protests is that BP’s strategy clearly has a shelf life – which is running out in places like Foley. This Friday’s protest will be at 10:00 a.m. across from the Foley Gulf Coast Claims Facility.

See the WALA report here:

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1 comment

  • It is satisying to see the Gulf Coast victims have finally determined that BP and its talking clown Kenneth Feinberg are not deserving of Southern courtesy and patience.

    Criminals must be dealt with in the customary ways. BP executives need to face Gulf Coast juries on charges of manslaughter and reckless disregard of human and animal life.

Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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