Oct 28, 2011 12:40 AM by Shawn Kline
Congressman Jeff Landry laid the heat on BP Claims Czar Kenneth Feinberg at a hearing in Washington.
"I agree with you, Congressman," Feinberg replied to Landry's ideas.
"I appreciate that," Congressman Landry said. "The question is, what are you going to do about it?"
"In the next few weeks... We hope to announce rules," Feinberg said. "New rules to deal particularly with Louisiana shrimpers."
For local shrimpers, that's the best news in a long time coming from the head of the Gulf Coast Claims Facility.
"Hopefully with this push, Feinberg will give shrimpers something that they deserve," Cheryl Granger said.
For the past year and a half, it's been a tough go for shrimpers like Granger and her husband, Al.
"I can just tell you that we won't be able to pay the fuel this year." Granger says, "just the fuel alone."
Since the oil spill, BP set aside $20-billion for claims to help those adversely affected by the oil spill.
When the Grangers filed their papers with Feinberg's staff, they were asked to settle.
"No way could we do that," Granger said.
The settlement wouldn't have even covered operation expenses for their lone shrimp boat.
"Once y'all opened that fund, there was a blue-light special on white boots," Congressman Landry said.
Landry, referring to the white boots shrimpers often wear, pointed-out the GCCF supplied claims to both recreational fishermen and commercial fishermen. In many cases, both received similar compensation.
"If there's one area the Gulf Coast Claims Facility needs to be more receptive and generous, it's with the commercial shrimping industry in Louisiana," Feinberg said at a hearing with the House Committee for Natural Resources.
Of the $20-billion, the claims facility has only paid out $5.5-billion.
"They keep dragging this process on and people get frustrated and just throw their hands up." Congressman Landry says, "That money was specifically earmarked for people who were affected by the spill."
Feinberg has pledged to make it easier for the commercial shrimpers. Some, like Al and Cheryl Granger, still waiting for the claims to become reasonable.
Feinberg's announcement of these plans still left a lot of unanswered questions but it does set a deadline to when the claims process could see some changes.
"I intend to make sure (Feinberg) lives up to his word," Congressman Landry said.
To see a portion of the hearing with Kenneth Feinberg and the House Committee for Natural Resources, click here
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