Petition Seeks Removal of BP Oil Spill Claims Chief

A widespread petition to oust BP Oil spill claims chief Ken Feinberg is underway, involves residents with Grand Isle, and has been passed through Facebook, among other locations and Internet sites, said the Daily Comet. The petition calls for Feinberg’s release over his inability to appropriately carry out his duties, wrote the Daily Comet.

The BP oil spill began on April 20, 2010 with an explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that killed 11 men. Attempts to staunch the gusher failed, until a cap was successfully deployed over the undersea well on July 15. By that time, roughly 4.4 million barrels of oil had spilled into the Gulf of Mexico. The BP oil spill, which now ranks as the largest offshore oil disaster in US history, paralyzed important segments of the Gulf Coast’s economy, including seafood and tourism.

According to Karen Hopkins, assistant to Grand Isle shrimp dock owner Dean Blanchard—Blanchard a community activist, has not been involved in the petition’s processing—Feinberg’s Gulf Coast Claims Facility has not fairly administered claims filed against BP’s $20 billion spill fund, said the Daily Comet, which noted that the fact that Feinberg refuses to disclose his salary in this role has also raised eyebrows.

“You have required us at every turn to re-file,” Hopkins said the petition reads, pointing out that that Feinberg’s staff members have asked for “more documentation before compensation can be considered,” quoted the Daily Comet. Feinberg is scheduled to appear at the Grand Isle Community Center at 4:30 p.m. today; before this, he is scheduled to be in Mississippi, where he will be presented with a similar request to step down, reported the Daily Comet.

We recently wrote that lawyers representing plaintiffs in BP oil spill lawsuits are questioning the independence of Kenneth Feinberg, the attorney overseeing BP’s $20 billion oil spill compensation fund. According to a recent report in The New York Times, they’ve asked US District Judge Carl J. Barbier, who is overseeing the consolidated BP oil spill litigation in New Orleans, to order Feinberg to be more even-handed when he discusses Gulf of Mexico oil spill claims.

Businesses, individuals, and government entities who suffered economic losses or physical injury as a result of the BP oil spill were eligible to file two types of claims: Emergency Advance Payments and long-term final damage claims. The deadline for filing emergency claims has passed. Claims forms for final payments must be submitted to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility by August 23, 2013.

Some have not signed the petition saying that they fear their pending claims will be affected if they are connected to the document. Others point out that they are holding off for a petition being developed and slated to be sent to President Obama.

Meanwhile, those impacted complain that claims paid do not come close to covering their losses or have been denied for additional claims for other businesses and business losses. Many feel that Feinberg’s interests are with the oil giant.

The Claims Facility Web site indicates that, to date, 470,332 claims have been filed nationwide by those directly or indirectly affected by the massive spill and that 168,013 claims have been paid for a total of $2,941,546,976.96, wrote the Daily Comet.

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