Editorial: The root of all evil
by The editorial board of The Anniston Star
Jul 18, 2013 | 2105 views |  0 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend | print
British Petroleum worked out a deal with the Justice Department under which it would pay the claims of people who lost money as a result of the 2010 oil spill. The company helped write the settlement plan and agreed to it. When the court-supervised claims administrator interpreted the settlement to mean that BP would pay more than it estimated, BP appealed.

A U.S. district court judge upheld the administrator interpretation.  BP appealed that decision. It does not want to pay the money.

Meanwhile, all across the Southeast, lawyers have been running ads telling residents that they might have a claim even if they were as far away from the Gulf as, say Anniston, and to find out if just call BR-549. They will take your case and BP will pay.

If that were not enough, politicians in states bordering the Gulf are salivating at the  prospect of getting buckets of money for projects that have little to do with restoring the coast that was damaged by the spill.

It is all about money — BP does not want to spend it, lawyers want to make them, citizens want to collect and politicians want to fund their pet projects.

What was that about “the root of all evil?”

Now BP has asked a federal judge for a temporary halt to settlement payments until an investigation into allegations that a claims-administrator attorney received money for claims to which he was not entitled.

Money, again.

This page has said before that if there are unjustified claims filed then they should be identified, and if fraud is involved the claimants (and their attorneys) should be prosecuted. Some were  recently charged with submitting false claims totaling nearly $140,000.  That is a good start.

Here are three groups with whom we can have little sympathy — a company that pollutes the environment and tries to avoid paying for the damage it causes, lawyers (and their clients) who unjustly exploit the situation, and politicians who seek to use the money to their own advantage.

Meanwhile, the Coast suffered and is suffering still, some people were really hurt and deserve compensation, and there are environmental concerns that should be addressed before money is spent on economic stimulation, infrastructure and convention centers.

But because all these interests, and others, are looking out for themselves, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will have to sort it all out.

All for money.
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Editorial: The root of all evil by The editorial board of The Anniston Star

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