BP has announced that it will change the way claims are processed in order to speed up the time it takes for money to get to oil-soaked small businesses that are no longer able to function. Under federal law, BP has an obligation to pay for a range of losses, including property damage and lost earnings, says the AP. There has been a growing tide of complaints alleging that the oil giant is dragging its feet when it comes to paying these claims.
But on Thursday, Tracy Wareing, of the National Incident Command office, said administration officials raised a “pressing concern” during a meeting Wednesday with BP executives about the time the company has been taking to provide relief payments.
She said the company would change the way it processes such claims and expedite payments. Among other things, it will drop the current practice of waiting to make such payments until businesses have closed their books for each month.
Additionally, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi asked publicly for BP to hold off paying shareholder dividends until they had made restitution to businesses in the Gulf region:
They made $17 billion last year, they should be paying these companies first… And that would be their best public relations, instead of taking out all these ads.
And then there’s Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., who made it clear where he stands as to the financial responsibility for cleaning up the oily mess:
I can make this pledge to the American people, that the American people will not pay a dime for the cleanup of the Gulf region and that BP will be held responsible for all the damages that have occurred.