Sunday, August 1, 2010

Tell us about your claim against BP

The best news on the oil spill front today, Day 103, is that we may be in the "cleanup phase" of this disaster. Leading off a three-part McClatchy series on all aspects of that challenge, Bradenton Herald reporters Grace Gagliano and Sara Kennedy examine in today's story how everyone who works or lives along the Gulf Coast must work to clean up the image damaged as much by perception as the actual oil residue.

But the damages are real. More than 100,000 claims against BP have already been filed, according to national accounts. How will these be paid? President Obama has appointed an independent claims administrator, Kenneth Feinberg, to oversee the claims process.

Starting today, the Bradenton Herald/ and other news media are partnering with ProPublica in a watchdog project monitoring the BP claims process.

As ProPublica -- "an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest" -- writes in our story today:

We could take BP at its word that it will pay all “legitimate” claims, and trust the administration’s assurances that the people of the Gulf will be made whole. We think it’s better to shine some sunlight on the process.

If you’ve filed a claim with BP, please share details of your experience with the Bradenton Herald’s and ProPublica’s reporters using this form. If you need help in filing a claim, ProPublica has compiled important guidelines for you.

Keep this out in the open. You have a right to know.

-- Joan

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