Group Pressures BP to Compensate Black Victims

Oil spill advocates say BP money is not reaching the most needy.

Posted: 08/15/2011 03:54 PM EDT

As summer winds down and many business in the Gulf of Mexico record pre-oil spill level profits for the season, some Black residents claim that BP still hasn’t held up its promises to restore their livelihoods.


Operation People for Peace, a coalition dedicated to advocating for minorities and poor people left out of the BP compensation process, flew to London earlier this month to pressure the corporation to live up to its promises. The five-member coalition claims that more than $488 million are due to over 10,000 small businesses, churches, hoteliers and the ethnic minorities in the region.


“Almost 90 per cent of our claimants are single parents with an average of two children. Their earnings are below the poverty line. They live in geographic locations and are engaged in occupations that were impacted most by the spill,” said coalition chairman Dr. Art Rocker.


Although mandated by the government, the $20 billion compensation fund set up after the spill is independently administered. Rocker and his organization say that the money is not being distributed equitably and many minorities and those without political connections are being passed over.


“Kenneth Feinberg, a representative of BP who has been allotted $20 billion to settle the claims for damage caused by the BP oil spill, has done nothing to ease the pain of the poor and under-served. He has done nothing but make false promises of payment. I have come to the conclusion that his job is simply to block payments to poor people, not to settle them,” said Dick Gregory, activist, comedian and member of Operation People for the Peace.


The Deepwater Horizon oil spill has been called one of the worst man-made environmental disasters in American history.

 

(Photo: Tim Isbell/Landov)

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