Across the gulf, residents already shell-shocked by the tar balls, oil soup and dead sea life washing up on their beaches are getting hit with a second wave: the sudden collapse of their livelihoods, and the equally intimidating challenge of getting BP to pay for it.
President Obama, who on Monday makes his fourth visit to the gulf in six weeks, will try to compel BP to set aside a "substantial" sum in an escrow fund for economic damage claims. Senate Democrats on Sunday requested that BP set aside $20 billion that would be overseen by an independent party, a contingency that could put further stress on the oil giant, which has lost about half its market value since the April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig started the worst spill in U.S. history.
The 42,000 claims filed with the oil company so far go well beyond the shrimpers, oystermen and seafood processers who have been the spill's most visible victims. Hotels, restaurants, machine shops, bars and tour companies all became collateral damage when the Gulf of Mexico, one of the nation's most important fisheries and tourist destinations, became an industrial cleanup site.
Join us on our
Share this page with your friends
on your favorite social network: