BP or BS?

BP or BS?

CHERYL ERICKSON– The Corsair

As the creator of Peter Pan once said, “We never understand how little we need in this world until we know the loss of it.”  James Matthew Barrie had a simple point in this statement. You don’t know what you got, till it’s gone. That rings true for so many things. Unfortunately in this case, I’m talking about the almighty dollar.

The environmental impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill could send me on an entirely different rant. However; for the moment, I’m focusing on the immediate need for basic essentials, such as food and shelter, or better put, the green stuff needed to pay for those things.

BP has received over 133,000 claims and has issued more than 83,000 checks in the 12 weeks since it began making claim payments on May 3.  That leaves an estimated 50,000 unpaid claims, or to make it a little more personal, 50,000 families struggling to put food on the table and pay for shelter. I am among one of those 50,000 people. Fifty Thousand! That’s gobs of hungry people.

Feinberg’s fictitious public assertion was that claims on average would be handled within 48 hours, he now admits he oversold that claim. While sitting across the desk of an employee of BP at the Foley, Ala. claims center, I’m just going out on a limb here, but I’m guessing she is paid bi-weekly, I was told a more realistic review period would be more along the lines of 30-60 days or more. It doesn’t take rocket science to see the vast difference in 48 hours and 30-60 days. Maybe they should have these people talking to the media rather than someone so detached from the reality of the situation.

While I completely understand and agree with the need for proof of validity of claims, I was left scratching my head in wonder at the ocean of documentation I was required to present after being handed a simple yellow sticky note from the claims representative.  After 3 weeks of preparing this stock pile of paperwork the way BP wanted it compiled, I placed a phone call to the central claims office asking if I could place it all on CD and present that to the local claims office. After verifying with a manager, I was told this was a great way to reduce the amount of trees required to print all of the requested paperwork, in not so many words. Super! Lessen the environmental impact one by one. Guess again.

Arriving at the local claims office, proud of my efficiency, my optimism was quickly squashed. Certain my CD of back-up documentation contained a malicious anti-BP virus, they refused to accept the CD except to tell me they would mail it to a warehouse where it would sit forever in storage never to be seen by human eyes. Perfect. In my opinion, they would prefer I hire a lumber jack, cut down 16 trees, mill it and have God himself hand-scribe the papers.  We have returned to the local claims office on three occasions to provide the requested documentation because each time it changes. All of this to show them that yes, indeed, we are eating Ramen noodles as a direct result of loss of business.

Ultimately, my husband’s business claim for loss of income with BP and the newly appointed Feinberg was denied due to “geographic proximity” of the loss. Apparently Mr. Feinberg and his associates are unfamiliar with the U.S. Coastline. My husband’s business could not be any closer to the water without actually floating.

No BP, its BS that your right hand doesn’t know what your left hand is doing while the people of the Gulf Coast are empty handed. Your $93 million TV ads and claims promising to make this right, have proven muddled, demoralizing and out right false to say the least. Buses of “local” workers placed in hotels? Locals have housing here. “Local” out of work fisherman, from Boston?

Again, not to mention the unknown and environmental impact of the spill and the dispersant used, but I, for one, would not want my children or grandchildren building sand castles out of tar balls or splashing around in crude oil and Corexit. Our entire way of life has been affected and altered beyond measure and that is no BS.

(Please send all opinions and letters to the editor to corsair@pensacolastate.edu)

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