By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Congressman Jo Bonner (R) from Mobile issued a written statement following the release of the Audit of the Gulf Coast Claims Facility. Rep. Bonner said that the review “found no major inconsistencies within the GCCF’s claims operations.”
Rep. Bonner said that the review however, “did point out that Mr. Ken Feinberg’s claims facility suffered some communications failures and made mistakes in applying criteria to all claimants. The auditors determined that some 7,300 claims were “negatively affected” by GCCF decisions. It says the GCCF is now working to resolve those claims which are estimated to be worth $64 million. While the volume of the oil spill damage claims reviewed by the GCCF was historic in both number and geographical extent, that does not excuse any shortcomings of Mr. Feinberg’s claims system to adequately address all legitimate claims.”
Rep. Bonner said, “Last Friday marked two years since that tragic day that quickly disrupted the economy and ecosystem of a whole region of America. In hindsight, we know that the 2010 blowout of the Deepwater Horizon well was the greatest environmental disaster in U.S. history. After two years of clean-up, the five states directly affected by the economic and ecological war that the spill unleashed upon us are still fighting for recovery funds.”
“The national television news crews that once kept a vigil along our shores are long gone. So are the coast-to-coast front-page headlines with sensational photos of oil-soaked wildlife and fouled Gulf beaches.” “Recovery is the watchword today. There is much more to our regional recovery than simply cleaning the beaches and recapturing oil adrift in the Gulf. The visible scars of that terrible ordeal are largely erased, but still hidden underneath lies the uncertainty of the long-term environmental impact of the unprecedented spill,” Rep. Bonner said.
Rep. Bonner said, “Here in Congress, I joined with fellow Gulf Coast lawmakers to introduce legislation to provide the financial resources to implement this recovery strategy. The RESTORE Act has passed the Senate and the groundwork for the legislation passed the House last week. It would direct 80 percent of Clean Water Act fines collected from the 2010 oil spill to the five Gulf states, including Alabama, for restoration.”
Rep. Bonner concluded, “My staff and I are still carefully studying the audit results and will follow up with the Justice Department if needed in order to insure that all claims are treated fairly.”
Two years ago on April 20 the Transocean oil rig Deepwater Horizon blew up while pumping oil from BP’s Manaconda wellhead killing 11 crewmen. The disaster unleashing 5 million barrels of oil over 87 days that killed an untold number of sea creatures, disrupted fisheries, polluted the coastline of five states (including Alabama), and devastated the 2010 summer gulf coast tourism season.
The Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF) was set up as a neutral third party to settle claims arising from the BP disaster in the Gulf. Ken Feinberg who had previously managed a similar fund for the victims of 9-11 was made director of the claims facility. Congressman Bonner has been critical of both the GCCF and Ken Feinberg and had requested the GCCF audit.
Congressman Jo Bonner represents Alabama’s First Congressional District.
To read Congressman Bonner’s statement in its entirety: