HARVEY, La. -- In a shocking move, BP has decided to shut down its internal oil spill claims program, taking away an avenue for more than 10,000 claimants who have opted out of the oil giant’s controversial settlement agreement or others who are not covered by it.Probably not many people realize there are.. or were two claims processes, the internal one that's being shut down now and the court-ordered one that is... well... its own sort of mess.
BP won’t say how many claimants it served with the BP Claims Program over the last two years, but the amount paid through the end of April was a paltry $12 million. By contrast, over the exact same time frame, the court-supervised settlement program paid $3.8 billion.
With all the fighting over that settlement program and BP’s high-profile effort to undo the way it pays business claims, it's been easy to forget about the other claimants -- those relegated to BP’s internal program as the only alternative to an interminable wait for a court date.
But what's important to know is that BP is pretty much done paying for anything.
Morrell said none of the claimants’ rights will be limited by the closure of the program and they can continue to pursue a settlement with BP on a one-on-one basis. But Arnsby doesn't believe that for a second.Meanwhile.... Un-vanished!
“We're on a stay, we can't move, we're log-jammed, and the more time that goes by, they're just attempting to weaken the claimant,” he said. “Because this is not about making it right for the businesses of the Gulf Coast. This is a strategy.”
Indeed, critics see this as just the latest way BP has tried to slow or stop claims payments. After paying $3.8 billion between June 2012 and October 2013, the settlement program was virtually shut down for the last eight months by BP’s court appeals.
A tar mat discovered on a beach in the National Seashore's Fort Pickens (FL) area Friday is larger than first thought.
A Coast Guard-led cleanup crew thought the mat was getting lighter as they dug it out of the sand in the surf zone on Saturday, but they found another large area Sunday.
So far more than 1,250 pounds of material has been collected, said Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Natalie Murphy, who is in charge of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill response.