BP says it wants to stop paying for future losses related to the Gulf oil spill

July 12th, 2011 by Staff

PINELLAS COUNTY, Florida – Less than a year after BP plugged the massive oil spill in the Gulf, the oil company says enough is enough. They don’t want to pay any more claims for future losses, because BP believes the Gulf Coast economy is back in business.

However, restaurant owners along Madeira Beach disagree with BP’s assessment. One business owner even used some 4-letter words to describe the oil company’s response to the spill.

At the Friendly Fisherman in Johns Pass, tourists have slowly returned, but the oil spill is still fresh on their minds. “You would see pictures of big tar balls and things like that and different animals covered in oil,” Kimberly Wolfe of Jeffersonville, Indiana told us.

Another group of tourists from Chicago and New Jersey delayed their vacation in St. Petersburg out of fear. “Yeah, we didn’t come last year because we were concerned about the oil.”

Those decisions left Patty Hubbard’s Friendly Fisherman restaurant with unpaid bills and mounting debt, even when BP says the area has already undergone a “robust recovery.”

“They’re using that word robust. It feels good because last year was so bad. We’re not near normal yet,” Patty says. She also tells us that she filed $250,000 in claims with BP but, so far, has only received $20,000.

In the meantime, BP still has $15.5 billion in its fund set aside to cover claims from the oil spill. It hopes to keep a large part of that money by saying all claims of future loss aren’t valid.

“I can’t imagine that they would be allowed to get away with this,” Patty Hubbard added.

In response, Senator Bill Nelson sent a letter to the claims administrator in Washington DC saying:

“You responded to BP’s comments by saying that you would take them ‘under advisement.’ Please ensure me that each claim is processed on an individual case-by-case basis and that all compensable losses-past, present, and future-are fully accounted for. Anything less would be legally and morally insufficient.”

“BP made a commitment. People are still hurting. And we don’t know what will happen in the future, plus there’s still claims in an appeals process and large claims that haven’t even been submitted yet. BP doesn’t need to be protected from the citizenry. It’s the other way around.”

Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu attended a public forum earlier Monday in Pensacola. The two heard from dozens of Gulf Coast business owners upset about the way BP has handled their claims.

For now, the oil company says they only want to honor future claims from oyster harvesters, but Rubio, Landrieu, and others say they will be working to change that.

The final decision on BP’s desire to ignore claims of future loss will likely come down to the government appointed claims administrator in Washington, DC.

For more information about claim related to the Gulf oil spill, visit: http://www.gulfcoastclaimsfacility.com/

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