Problems with New Claims Process


Questions from my MSNBC interview on the new Kenneth Feinberg claims system, which officially began yesterday, focused on what fishermen think of the process. I pointed out two areas of major concern: (1) counting cleanup pay against eventual settlements, and (2) cutting back from a three-year final settlement to a one-year settlement. And this when it took four years for some Alaskan fisheries to collapse from the Exxon spill.

Another question involved people getting paid “off the books” and not filing that income on their taxes – certainly a touchy issue. But, as I say in the interview, it’s really irrelevant because the law requires payment based on earning potential, not anything that happened in the past.

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