Panama City – The $7.8 billion deal declared last week by oil giant BP will possibly give thousands of Floridians with pending oil spill claims and claims rejected by BP’s Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF) a chance to have those claims reviewed under the new agreement.
The GCCF, which was formed by BP after the April 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico for paying damages to victims of the spill, is going to be replaced by a new court-overseen facility for assessing the bp settlement. Pending claimants can now decide whether to accept their payment based on the existing criteria or the new system which will be implemented shortly.
The deal declared by BP still required U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier’s formal approval. Once approved, it will end suits filed by around 100,000 plaintiffs who claimed their livelihoods were impacted by the 2010 BP oil spill.
Restaurant and hotel owners in the Gulf Coast states say their business have seriously affected by the April 2010 BP oil spill disaster.
The Gulf businesses are forcing the Congress to pass the RESTORE Act so that billions of dollars of money expected as BP fines could be used for the restoration of the Gulf Coast.
Joey Costanzo, a restaurant owner, says his business profits were down by 50 percent after the BP oil spill because people were worried of consuming potentially contaminated seafood.
Though two years have gone after the worst offshore oil spill in the nation’s history, Costanzo says his business is still not the same how it was before April 2010.
Offshore operators supplying vessels said they are preparing for a shortage of eligible crew members, which could rise costs and obstruct the speed of offshore drilling in the Gulf.
Hornbeck Offshore Services, a Covington-based supplier of offshore transport services, says it s operating costs for the year may possibly increase to $255 million. This is $13 million more than from previous predictions. The company says increased labor expense is the major issue. It says challenge for offshore mariners is rising and driving up the salary costs.
According to Shane Guidry, the chairman and CEO of a New Orleans marine company called Harvey Gulf International, though April 2010 BP oil spill can’t be blamed for the shortage, the accident is still an issue.
“Definitely, if the oil spill had not happened, 64 vessels would not have left the Gulf and allowed the crew members to go,” Guidry said.
The bird watchers, biologists and hunters in Minnesota are concerned regarding the impacts that the April 2010 BP oil spill could have on the state’s migratory birds.
A three-year study conducted by the DNR (Department of Natural Resources) is ongoing. The study is looking at the effects of the worst offshore oil spill that the United States has ever seen on white pelicans and common loons.
According to Katie Haws, the Regional Non-Game Specialist with the Minnesota DNR, initial reports on some eggs of pelicans collected from the Marsh Lake indicated signs of oil pollution.
“They have got evidence of chemical dispersants and petroleum compounds in the eggs. But, its impacts on pelicans are not known now,” Haws said.
Haws said the DNR has sent 13 dead loons gathered last year to a Wisconsin wildlife health lab. She said the results of their muscle tissue examination are not released so far.