President Obama vowed today to “ride herd” over BP to ensure claims are paid to victims of the spill. We all appreciate the president’s increased involvement in the process, as well as his sentiment and conviction to hold BP accountable. Sadly, however, his promises are of little comfort to victims in Louisiana and throughout the Gulf region who have already received checks from BP, and continue to wonder in quiet desperation how they will be made whole again. As an example, BP has paid fishing boat captains $5,000 for their lost income, a laughable amount to anybody who knows the business. Most captains down here can make $5,000 in less than a week during peak season. Many of these folks have loan payments that exceed $5,000 a month. So, the real problem isn’t that BP is failing to pay claims, it’s that the claims are doing little to help victims recoup their real losses. The oil is stealing income from fishermen to resort owners to restauranteurs to shrimpers to bait shop owners –– and up to this point, BP hasn’t made a dent in their past and future lost income.
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