Sunday, July 4, 2010

Anger growing at Clearwater BP claims office

CLEARWATER, Fla. - BP's only Bay area claims office opened Monday in Clearwater. Some are getting money to help offset losses caused by the oil spill, but many are not satisfied.

For Kathy Birren, the BP claims process is so frustrating it brings her to tears.

"It's like if you don't have oil on your beaches and on your skin they don't care. They think you are not legit," said Birren.

Kathy and her husband own five fishing boats in Hernando County. They say their business is down 40 percent since the oil spill in the gulf. She's been helping other fishermen get organized, and thought she came to the claims office prepared. But after five hours of negotiating, she's still not satisfied.

"I've been involved in all this stuff to know you gotta do this the right way the first time. I come in there and (her husband's) brother is at a desk, three desks away getting different answers than what we are getting. And the guy is saying there's nothing I can do. I'm sorry, I'm just the claims person," said Birren.

Like Kathy, commercial fisherman Roy Woodhouse is struggling.

"I ain't selling a third of the fish I was selling. I got bills to pay," said Woodhouse.

He was told if he brought the proper paperwork, he'd get some money. But he left empty handed. A BP representative him only long line fisherman could receive payments.

"They said the federal government or something. I don't know. They said we'll call you. I gotta go home and wait," said Woodhouse.

We were told the BP office manager didn't have time to talk to us because he was busy cutting checks. Kathy and her husband eventually got theirs, but for an amount far less than then what they need to keep their business going.

"It just shows me what's to come," said Birren.


1 comment:

  1. Obama told America that if we can win WWII and put a man on the moon, we can plug this leak and solve our dependency on fossil fuels.

    But there's a missing piece: the soldiers in WWII had the Pentagon and Neil Armstrong had NASA. What's the man on the street supposed to do to solve the fossil fuel problem? Is it time for an organized, funded effort?

    The following link is to a satirical video, but it underscores this issue in real terms.

    Link: You're Soaking In It