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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Gulf Coast Claims Methodology Needs Changes

As part of its ongoing effort to promote justice for the individuals struggling to recover from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Alliance for Justice has sent recommendations to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF) on the proposed methodology for processing claims and calculating damages.

Many Gulf Coast claimants face tough legal and procedural difficulties as they fight for fair compensation for their losses, and AFJ’s analysis has found that GCCF’s proposed methodology does not adequately protect residents’ rights. We found numerous ways in which the methodology needs to be improved if it is to offer a fair and transparent process for Gulf Coast residents.

Some of the problems AFJ recommends be addressed in the methodology are:
  • The methodology relies upon an unreliable and inherently speculative projection of when the Gulf will recover.
  • The methodology should better inform claimants of the specific documentation and eligibility standards used by GCCF.
  • GCCF’s proposed methodology does not explain how GCCF will handle some of the claims BP is required to pay under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, such as subsistence use claims for residents who rely on seafood for subsistence.
  • The methodology’s underlying assumptions and the GCCF’s processes need to be more open, transparent, and free from corporate influence.
  • GCCF’s proposed methodology calculates economic loss based on 2008 and 2009 figures, despite the fact that those years represent a low point in the US economy.
A PDF of AFJ’s analysis and full set of recommendations can be found here.

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