The Associated Press is now reporting President Obama and British Petroleum have come to an agreement regarding the establishment of a fund to help pay off claims. This fund is expected to be over $20 billion and will be tied to the claims process that has already begun in the Gulf Coast area. Meeting for some four hours, BP officials set aside an additional $100 million for the families of the 11 sailors who died in the explosion.
The news comes as welcome to an area that has been besought by financial difficulties as a result of the various closures caused by the BP oil spill. The Press reports
The claims system sets up a formal process to be run by a specialist with a proven record. Instead of vague promises by BP, there will be a White House-blessed structure with substantial money and the pledge that more will be provided if needed. The news was applauded in the Gulf — a rare positive development in a terrible two-month period since the April 20 explosion that killed 11 workers and unleashed a flood of oil that has yet to be stemmed.
While the fact money has been set aside will be welcome news to many, some may fear that a lack of review may lead to problematic denials by BP. The White House, however, reports that the claims process will also include a three-member panel to review and handle claims that are refused. Further, the $20B fund will be paid into over four years by BP and the amount is not a cap.
Even though these remarks demonstrate an effort on the part of the oil giant and the government, people have raised issue with a remark made by the BP chairman that he had heard “comments sometimes that large oil companies are greedy companies or don’t care, but that is not the case with BP. We care about the small people.”
Justin Taffinder of New Orleans was not amused.
“We’re not small people. We’re human beings. They’re no greater than us. We don’t bow down to them. We don’t pray to them,” Taffinder said.
While this poor choice of words is can obvious gaffe, the news of a block of money now conclusively tied to the claims process is a great step towards making the people of the Gulf Coast harmed by this disaster whole. The encouraging nature of $20B not being a “capped amount” furthers the positive sentiment due to the fact it shows a true determination that BP will be held fully responsible for any hardship caused.
More information regarding this BP oil spill claims breaking news will be provided when it becomes available.