With the release of the Presidential Oil Spill Commission report this week, we’re seeing some renewed interest in the fallout from the BP oil spill.
In particular, the $20 billion escrow fund managed by Kenneth Feinberg has been a main point of contention between the Gulf and BP since last fall, when BP began threatening to withhold compensation to residents if Congress placed greater restrictions on their drilling. Many residents have complained of the difficulty in securing so much as a pittance from the fund, and a number of lawsuits against BP have followed as a result.
So Feinberg has spent the last few months trying to quell the uproar over the escrow account, using town hall meetings to let these destitute fisherman air their grievances and, hopefully, stop suing BP over their inability to efficiently process claims. The problem is that most of the fishermen who have received compensation claim it’s nowhere near enough to support their families, while others have been forced to wait helplessly for for months on end for their checks to arrive.
At once such town hall meeting this week, a shrimper named Elmer Rogers actually got on his knees and begged Feinberg for help:
“Thanksgiving, I was under review,” said Rogers. “My kids barely ate. I barely ate. Christmas came. Christmas came. My child is 13 years old. She got nothing. You know what she woke up to? No water in the house, and no power.”
Here is the video of the exchange, courtesy WWLTV: