The magnitude and complexity of the story is a challenge to cover.
I don’t think most of the stories out there have tapped just how deeply and how seriously angry people are about the way the whole the oil response was handled by both BP and the federal government. They’re just outraged.
Memorable quote of the week: A local oyster producer named David Cvitanovich showed us some absolutely stunning examples of coastal erosion. He said, “It’s dying, it’s dying.” Now, there are people who dispute that, but to me, that was the most heartfelt and most anguished quote that I’ve heard in a long time.
On BP’s $20 billion compensation fund:
The overwhelming number of people we spoke with believe that the whole process is designed to get them to settle as cheaply as possible and give up any future lawsuit claims against BP.
Memorable quote of the week
A local oyster producer named David Cvitanovich showed us some absolutely stunning examples of coastal erosion. He said, “It’s dying, it’s dying.” Now, there are people who dispute that, but to me, that was the most heartfelt and most anguished quote that I’ve heard in a long time.
You could have a full-time job just covering the court cases that have arisen from this. I ran a story Wednesday about the natural resource damages. It’s really important not just in terms of determining the environmental damage but also the whole timeline of when this will settle. It’s kind of a ticking clock of when the government thinks it has enough data to start entering into settlement negotiations. People I’ve talked to said it could be at least another 18 months, maybe longer.
Development of the week:
Thursday BP said it will pay $1 billion toward ecological restoration. BP is basically saying, “Hey, take this up front, and we’ll figure it out later.” And that’s a big issue because people down in the Gulf say these things need to be done now. If you leave it for two or three years, it’ll be too late.
I think the most underreported aspect of this story is the health effects: what is happening to the workers and their families who were exposed to oil? A lot of people are saying they can’t get to doctors because they were fishermen or were working offshore and were put out of work by this spill. There hasn’t been any reporting of it because a lot of these people come off as kooks. But I think there’s more beyond the kookiness that’s involved here. I think there’s some real concern.
On the BP compensation fund:
I think everybody continues to look at BP as part of an industry that’s recalcitrant, like “all other oil companies.” But it recognizes that it’s going to get hit with billions of dollars in valid claims of damage. And it may as well go ahead and start making credits now to pay off part of that.