The 2010 BP oil spill was one of the worst environmental disasters in our country’s history. 11 rig workers lost their lives unexpectedly in the tragic explosion. The wildlife in the Gulf has suffered, and the full extent of damage remains to be seen.
Hundreds of volunteer clean-up workers are currently experiencing some of the scariest side effects after being exposed to Corexit, the agent used to disperse the oil; one that the EPA claimed was as safe as dishwasher soap.
Last but not least, the economy. The billions of dollars Florida missed out on as our tourism halted and our usual clientele did not come our way. From restaurants to resorts, attractions to wedding planners, car dealers to plastic surgeons, virtually every business owner and industry in Gulf coast counties experienced the trickle down economic losses that devastated some businesses, and severely impacted most.
Now, with 8 months remaining for affected business owners to recoup some of their lost revenues, BP has engaged in a multi-million dollar PR and advertising campaign designed to deter potential claimants from being evaluated. They have established an anti-fraud hotline, placed advertisements in some of the country’s largest and well-known publications, and have taken several legal actions to refine, and even halt the processes included in the Program.
While the Federal Court and mandating Judge, Judge Barbier, have denied all of BP’s appeals and requests, there is no doubt that BP’s fear and guilt tactics are chilling some would-be claimants. BP is creating blurred lines for potential claimants in an attempt to satisfy their buyer’s remorse.
What claimants need to understand is that if, during evaluation, their business losses do not meet the specific parameters outlined in the Program, they will not qualify. There are over 60 objective mathematical formulas that can qualify a business. Should a business fall short of those requirements, the business owner will not receive compensation.
It is crucial to the economic standing of our state, and all Gulf coast counties, that we remember and acknowledge the impacts of the BP oil spill. More importantly, it is crucial that we allow BP to pay for the damage it caused, and exercise our right to recover, thrive, and grow in the aftermath of the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States.