It has been well over a year since the oil disaster of 2010 began in the Gulf of Mexico; it's end however is no where in sight. As time goes on and problems are left unresolved their impacts increase with each passing day. This past week the Alliance for Justice released a report describing the many problems with the Gulf Coast Claims Facility process. As perhaps the only viable option for fishermen, and local business owners to be "made whole," it is a tragedy that so many are left irrevocably damaged and inadequately compensated.
The thorough report describes many faults with the GCCF process, including: confusing and unclear documentation requirements, poor communication with claimants, no transparency, claim limitations based on geography and industry type, settlements based on the highly criticized, non-peer reviewed Tunnel report, reluctance to admit liability in damaging oyster habitat(public and private), lack of funding for reef restoration, requirement to waive future losses and projections of future loss being speculative at best.
See the full report here:
The systematic flaws of this process only compound the problems faced by those struggling in the Gulf and leave them with little hope for recovery.
The United Commercial Fisherman's Association has many members, including myself, struggling through the GCCF process and experiencing many of the problems outlined above. We are working to improve this process, advocate for fishermen and aid our members in any way we can.
Our friends at LEAN(Louisiana Environmental Action Network) are lending their continued support through their "People Helping People" Fund that provides financial assistance to struggling fishermen and gulf coast residents with basic everyday needs.
We are known for our resilience here along the Louisiana gulf coast but for us to survive we will have to support each other. As time goes on the needs only get bigger. The longer the claims go un-payed, the longer uncertainty lingers over the state of the fisheries, the less hope there is for real recovery. I hope that you will stand with me in demanding that the people of the Gulf be made whole and lend your support in any way you can.