Friday, June 11, 2010

Letter to Admiral Thad Allen from Advocates for Environmental Human Rights

June 9, 2010

Admiral Thad Allen, National Incident Commander
2100 Second Street, SW
Washington DC 20593
Via Facsimile: 202.372.1710

Dear Admiral Allen:

As a public interest law firm, we are deeply concerned that our government is not protecting the interest of those affected by the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and subsequent storms, we have learned that inadequate support for recovery destabilizes communities and debilitates environmental conditions, all of which undermine basic human rights.

For this reason, we are deeply concerned that your June 8, 2010 letter to British Petroleum CEO Tony Hayward requesting information regarding BP’s handling of claims related to its Gulf of Mexico oil disaster fails to address the fact that BP’s goal is to minimize the amount of money it pays to claimants. This goal is in direct contradiction to the recent BP advertisement in which Tony Hayward pledges to honor claims. The BP website refers claimants to ESIS, Inc. However, the “Recovery Services Fact Sheet” on the ESIS website, states that the goal of its services is “reducing our clients’ loss dollar pay-outs." BP has praised its 15-year contractual relationship with the ESIS Claims Team. In the May 27, 2010 Congressional testimony of Mr. Darryl Willis, BP America Vice President of Resources, ESIS is lauded for “providing the backbone of our claims process."

As the National Incident Commander, you have the responsibility to ensure that the people of the Gulf Region harmed by the BP oil disaster are fully compensated by BP for all of their losses. This responsibility entails investigating and preventing any efforts by BP and ESIS that provide or attempt to provide insufficient compensation to any claimant. This responsibility also requires ensuring that the compensation plan is designed and implemented to meet the unique needs of Gulf Coast fishers, seafood industry workers, and maritime communities, whose members have already developed a compensation plan in response to the BP oil disaster .

We look forward to hearing from you regarding this critical matter.

Very truly yours,
Monique Harden
Co-Director & Attorney

Nathalie Walker
Co-Director & Attorney
Advocates for Environmental Human Rights

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