The $20 billion fund set up by BP to pay restitution to the economic victims of its Gulf of Mexico disaster is likely to remain mostly untouched, the man hired by the oil giant to handle the payments says. “I’ve used just over $4 billion,” BP’s victim fund administrator Kenneth Feinberg told the London Telegraph. “I don’t envision a flood of new claims.”
Months or years from now when an analysis of the claims are analyzed, and well people are paying attention then they are now, how much you want to find that BP made the process almost impossible. Underpaid people. You name it.
Popular Science has an amazing photo gallery of individuals fighting to save their homes from the recent flooding of the Mississippi River. Talking Points Memo also has a heart breaking photo gallery as well.
Just a few interesting stories on the anniversary of the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon:
- The Times-Picayune remembers the 11 men whose lives were lost at sea.
- The Center for Public Integrity has an excellent piece today about BP’s public relations work in the Gulf, focusing on one woman in particular who became the company’s friendly face for community outreach programs. Turns out she has history of playing the public on BP’s behalf. Wow, imagine that.
- Scientific American has a story looking at the long-term impact for wildlife in the Gulf, reaching the concludion that there are still more questions than answers.
- The NAACP published a powerful report today, “My Name is 6508799,” which details the economic and health impacts for Gulf coast residents, many of them minorities, in the past year.
- Over at Grist, Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) weighs in on what has changed in terms of drilling safety in the past year. His conclusion: Not a damn fucking thing happened. Not a single bill. Not a single change.
- The New York Times has a nice profile of Michael Bromwich, the individual tapped to head the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement in the aftermath of the spill.
- National Geographic looks at six things that the “experts” got wrong about the spill.
- On Tuesday, the federal government reopened the last of the Gulf waters closed to fishing during the spill.
A larger version and background information is located at Graphic.is.
Via the always wonderful ProPublica:
The oil spill that was once expected to bring economic ruin to the Gulf Coast appears to have delivered something entirely different: a gusher of money. Some people profiteered from the spill by charging BP outrageous rates for cleanup. Others profited from BP claims money, handed out in arbitrary ways. So many people cashed in that they earned nicknames—”spillionaires” or “BP rich.” Meanwhile, others hurt by the spill ended up getting comparatively little.
In the end, BP’s attempt to make things right—spending more than $16 billion so far, mostly on claims of damage and cleanup—created new divisions and even new wrongs. Because the federal government ceded control over spill cleanup spending to BP, it’s impossible to know for certain what that money accomplished, or what exactly was done.
As always the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
From the Associated Press:
In sleepy Ocean Springs, Miss., reserve police officers got Tasers. The sewer department in nearby Gulfport bought a $300,000 vacuum truck that never sucked up a drop of oil. Biloxi, Miss., bought a dozen SUVs. A parish president in Louisiana got herself a deluxe iPad, her spokesman a $3,100 laptop. And a county in Florida spent $560,000 on rock concerts to promote its oil-free beaches.
In every case, communities said the new, more powerful equipment was needed to deal at least indirectly with the spill.
In many instances, though, the connection between the spill and the expenditures was remote, and lots of money wound up in cities and towns little touched by the goo that washed up on shore, the AP found in records requested from more than 150 communities and dozens of interviews.
Seems the Senator has either never heard of or forgotten about this little thing called the Deepwater Horizon:
Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) is accusing the Obama administration of “leading with ideology and politics” instead of science on the deepwater oil drilling debate.
“Unfortunately, I think it is politics and ideology over sound science and common sense,” Vitter said in an interview with the Fox Business Network.
Yes, it actually said that.
Clearly a much larger sample size would be nice, but I fear this is just the first of many reports we’ll see that indicate what happened in the Gulf is far, far worse then we understand:
This month, the Louisiana Environmental Action Network released the blood test results from 12 Gulf residents between the ages of 10 and 66 that were taken in September, November, and December of 2010. According to Treehugger, these people consisted of cleanup workers, crabbers, and people living along the coast. The study consisted of six women, four men, and two boys, aged 10 and 11.
Four of the people had unusually high levels of benzene, which, according to the ISS, is a highly toxic chemical from crude oil. It has been linked to many health problems, including anemia, leukemia, irregular menstrual periods and ovarian shrinkage. Those four were all crabbers from the Biloxi area, and consisted of three adults and one 10-year-old boy.
Ethylbenzene was detected in all 12 blood samples from Gulf residents at high levels and 11 of the 12 individuals had relatively high concentrations of xylenes. Ethylbenzene can cause damage to hearing and to the ear, dizziness, kidney damage, and may even cause cancer. Xylene can cause dizziness, headaches, skin irritation, confusion, and a whole slew of other ailments.
Most everybody, if they even just skim the news, is aware that New Orleans changed dramatically after Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, but the national media has largely overlooked one of the city’s most stunning changes. Before Katrina hit New Orleans had an African American mayor, police chief, district attorney, and black majorities on the city council and the school board. Or put another way, the elected leaders reflected the majority of the residents. Today, though still a vastly African American city, New Orleans has a white mayor, district attorney, police chief, and white majorities on the city council and the school board. Justin Vogt at the Washington Monthly has a very interesting and insight article, A Time Against Race, that talks about how this occurred and how things are working out. Really a must read.