Auditing the $20 billion BP Oil Spill Fund, established to compensate victims of BP’s 2010 Gulf oil catastrophe’s human and environmental rights ultra-abuse, won Senate approval Friday as Obama’s adminstration green-lighted BP to begin Gulf drilling again. According to Gulf oil victims at “The Big Fix” movie premiere in the New Orleans area this past week and to officials, there is reason for Gulf Coast Claims Facility administrator Kenneth Feinberg to be criticized since many surviving victims have received not a penny and BP is subject of a criminal investigation related to its deep water oil drilling rig exploding 78 weeks ago where oil still gushes uncontrollably today, filling Earth’s ninth largest body of water.
The Gulf Restoration Network says that President Obama administration’s decision to allow BP to start its deep oil drilling is “problematic,” considering that comprehensive safety legislation has not been passed through Congress.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) approval for the Gulf drilling to resume came “despite the fact that BP is the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation and was recently cited by the Department of the Interior for numerous safety and environmental violations in the Deepwater Horizon explosion,” reported Virginia Chamlee of the Florida Independent via PBS’ Frontline.
“We have not received one penny,” said leading Gulf victim advocate Kendra Arnesen at “The Big Fix” New Orleans red carpet premiere last week that was followed by Josh and Rebecca Tickell’s film encore performance Wednesday night.
(Watch “The Big Fix” official trailer embedded on the left of this page.)
South Louisiana’s Shrimp King, Dean Blanchard, owner of the largest shrimp manufacturing company in the United States said similar things and worse last week at The Big Fix screening in Chalmette. He closed his business for good that day he said, due to his refusal to sell shrimp unfit for human consumption.
Asked about health problems in the area, Blanchard said that the death of “his fisherman” last week was the second BP oil related death this month.
Blanchard said that he closed his seafood business last week, unable in good conscience to keep selling shrimp he knows are poisonous, mutated and dangerous.
He has lost millions of dollars in sales, laid off more than half of his workers and still has no BP Oil Spill Fund relief.
Plastered on outer walls of the trailer office of his seafood empire are homemade signs: “BP = Bayou Polluter” and “President Obama: BP took my business and my money.”
Margaret Curole, also featured in “The Big Fix” showed reporter Deborah Dupré photos of deformed fish and shrimp being pulled out of the Gulf in bucket loads. Crabs have holes in their hard shells. Shrimp and fish have no eyes. Fish have grotesque open wounds, similar to those many Gulf Coast residents have and cannot rid.
An untold number of Gulf Coast residents have already died waiting for their claims to be paid.
Feinberg, the Boston lawyer President Barack Obama appointed to oversee payments to damaged businesses and injured Gulf Coast residents, met with Louisiana officials last week to address “the wash of grievances that continues to roll in from coastal communities” according to Richard Rainey of The Times-Picayune.
Republican Sens. Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) are unhappy with the way the $20 billion fund set up by BP to compensate victims due to lack of transparency in distribution of funds and the manner in which payment calculations are made.
Wicker said, “Mississippians who submitted claims to the GCCF deserve to know how their claims payments were determined,” reported McClatchy Newspapers.
“This amendment will bring needed transparency to the claims process, and I am glad to have worked with Senator Rubio and other Gulf Coast members to help advance it.”
McClatchy reported last week that Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Miss said, “A Department of Justice audit of the GCCF is overdue. Gulf Coast residents need certainty about the fairness and transparency of the claims process. I will be closely monitoring Mr. Feinberg’s hearing in front of the Natural Resources Committee next Thursday.”
The Deepwater Horizon platform operated by BP exploded in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010, initially killing 11 people and then killing an untold number of people through oil and the dispersant Corexit that BP’s affiliated company, NALCO produces.
The oil spill that reportedly gushed “nearly three months with approximately 4.9 million barrels of oil” is still gushing according to leading environmental attorney Stuart Smith, as the late oil guru Matt Simmons had said it would, shortly before his untimely death.
“Carpet-bombing” of the area with lethal Corexit is still being conducted according to locals and investigators Josh and Rebecca Tickell who filmed the covert operation for the world to see in “The Big Fix” that has rocked South Louisiana over the past week since it had its final cut North American debute in New Orleans.
The oil catastrophe continues to cause unprecedented extensive economic and ecological damage, negatively impacting health and well-being of at least four million Gulf Coast residents says toxicologist Riki Ott who is also featured in The Big Fix.
From increased mortality of baby dolphins, a sign of the same in humans to other on-going public health concerns, impacts of BP’s oil drilling disaster continue plaguing the Gulf of Mexico and Gulf Coast residents. The region continues to need and deserve attention and compassion of the nation that it might finally gain through “The Big Fix.”