Whistleblower: Relief payments get slashed if fishermen refuse to work for BP

By Stephen C. Webster
Tuesday, July 6th, 2010 -- 11:25 pm

bp oil tshirt.top Whistleblower: Relief payments get slashed if fishermen refuse to work for BP

Any relief payment plan established in the wake of the worst environmental accident ever was bound to have its flaws, but this goes to a whole new level of wrong.

According to Gulf resident Kindra Arnesen, who turned whistleblower and full-time activist when she saw how many people were put out of work by the spill, BP will deduct money from individual payments on claims for lost income if the claimant refuses to work in assisting the spill response.

Reading from a letter she'd received from BP, Arnesen quoted the company's line:

"BP will continue its efforts to pay legitimate claims for losses incurred due to the Deepwater Horizon incident. However, federal law clearly provides for adjustments for all income resulting from the incident, all income from alternative employment or businesses undertaken [...] and potential income from alternative employment or businesses not undertaken but reasonably available."

In other words, if you are a fisherman who was put out of work by BP and you do not elect to work in their employ, but you still file a claim for losses over the Deepwater Horizon disaster, that claim could be significantly less than the actual damages incurred.

Story continues below...

Arnesen, a fisherman's wife and longtime Louisiana resident, has been a true pitbull of an activist since she began popping up in area media. Finally, at the beginning of June, she gained enough notoriety that CNN picked up her story. She was one of the first to raise hell over reports of fishermen getting sick, allegedly from the oil and dispersant fumes coming off the Gulf.

Her husband David is one of thousands who opted to work for BP after the oil contaminated his usual fishing routes. She believes he was one of many who were sickened by BP's toxic vapors.

BP CEO Tony Hayward tried to pass off the multiple boats full of sick fishermen as "food poisoning." The company has since discouraged use of respirators because they don't want the task to appear dangerous. However, RFK Center President Kerry Kennedy traveled to the Gulf Coast to talk to cleanup workers and found that BP's active denial of proper safety equipment was having a serious health effect.

"In all three states that I've visited, fishermen said when they went out to work on the cleanup, that if they tried to bring respirators they were told it was unnecessary equipment and would only spread hysteria," Kennedy told Fox News.

"When I went out with eleven people, we had respirators on and within half an hour, all of our eyes were burning and our throats were closing and we all had headaches," she explained.

That got Kindra mad as hell.

In an amazing display of gusto, even with the possibility that she'd endanger his income by damaging their relationship with BP, Arnesen showed up absolutely livid to a citizens emergency summit on June 19. Her speech quickly gained traction in progressive media after she claimed BP's directors were eager to cut costs and merely put on a show every time a politician swings through, ushering cleanup crews out almost as fast as they're ushered in.

Visibly disturbed by BP's concise statement on relief payments, Arnesen jeered: "They summed it up in one paragraph: billions upon billions for coastal communities. One paragraph. One paragraph? This is what they think? That we're gonna clean up their toxic shit? For the same price that we're gonna pick up shrimp? Are they loony? Have they lost their minds?"

"Am I scared? Yes," Arnesen told CNN. "Anything that ever starts, starts with one. And if I have to be the one then I have to be the one."

The team that filmed her, Project Gulf Impact, also recently landed an interview with Dr. Chris Pincetich, a marine biologist, who claimed that the U.S. Coast Guard is involved in spraying Corexit oil dispersant and that the substance has made it ashore.

This video was published to YouTube by Project Gulf Impact on July 4, 2010.

  • The way i see it if the people running this country cared about what happened to it we would not be dealing with these issues in the first place, Bush and obama are to blame for letting these people drill in deep waters with absolutely no experience in that area, they signed of on it.

    Basically to experiment with our beautiful coastal waters with no risk what so ever because no one is supervising these people, their turning it into a huge sludge septic tank, and it will never be cleaned up properly, the valdez spill is proof of that, BP could care less what happens here because they don't live in this country.

    There is so much going here that it boggles the brain, corruption, incompetence on a massive scale and americans are going to pay a huge price for this.

    And let me be clear i understand the need we have for oil but at the expense of our delicate envirements, look at the prices of oil and where we are harvesting it, we americans should get all we need and then other countries can have what's left over.

    There drilling in our own backyard and fleecing the hell out of hard working americans.
  • panamarick
    Just to be sure I understand this arrangement I will attempt to explain it to my self this way.

    BP ran a stop sign and wrecked my car. Their deal to me is, If I help them fix it, and chip in some of my money to help pay for the cost then they promise to fix my car. If I don't do as they say, then BP will deduct their part of the cost as I had refused to cooperate and hold up my end of their deal leaving me to ether fix my car by myself or declare the car a total lost and blame my self for not taking advantage of their generosity. Have I got that right?
  • Kurt_O
    People should know the truth about what we're facing. Please spread these videos about Corexit and the criminal cartel who are actually behind this around:

    Part 1 of 2 (about 10 min): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2fldJnaNp0&feat...

    Part 2 of 2 (about 8 min): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzj2lZDEJMw&feat...
  • NadePaulKuciGravMcKi
    remember how big oil was so proud of their record profits year after year

    just like big pharma
  • I'm wondering if the Republican Party supports this as well. After standing in the way of unemployment benefits I see no reason why they shouldn't stand in the way of people's lives were being ruined being ruined even further

    It's time to take BP and flush it for every penny that it's got
  • daniel_cobb
    We need to understand the fact that corporations, especially the all-powerful oil companies but others as well, are PREDATORS. They predate the environment, decimating entire eco-systems, wiping out river systems and lakes with toxic mining effluent and causing widespread poisoning of water supplies by hydraulic fracturing, (a method of drilling wells for oil and natural gas). These CEOs and their companies DO NOT GIVE A DAMN about permanent poisoning, largescale die-offs, and the human cost. The Southest U.S. will be an environmental and economic deadzone for many years. BP's immediate concern? Inject toxic dispersants into the oilstream to HIDE the oil beneath the water surface. And here is the other shoe. Government oversight of these dangerous industries have failed us miserably. Corporations are predators, and our government has broken down, complicit by incompetence or outright corruption. For BP? MAKE GREED PAY. Boycott the company forever. Sue the company forever. Destroy BP. Prosecute these criminal bastards. Join an environmental organization. Read my fact-based, award winning thriller, THE MINE, about corporate greed, youthful idealism, and survival. MAKE GREED PAY.
  • Crispus Attucks
    This is a company making billions and planning to evacuate the Walrus from the Gulf of Mexico without any plan for hurricanes. I say we nationalize banks, oil companies, energy companies and execute white collar criminals responsible for more than 1 million in losses. Madoff should be hanging in an iron maiden and the heads of BP should be on a platter for us all to spit on.
  • BuckJohnson
    This is so wrong, and your right where is the govt. in this.
  • My3Cats
    Isn't BP's denying fishermen recompense for the destruction of their lives unless the fishermen work for BP a form of indentured servitude? Now let me get this straight. Let's say someone comes to my house and destroys it. I have a claim against them for destruction of my property, but the defendant says I won't get just compensation unless I work on his/her payroll to rebuild my own house? WTF!?!? And where is the Obama administration in all this? Since when does a foreign corporation dictate to U.S. citizens when, where, how to work and for whom!?! BP, remember 1776 -- we will CRUSH YOU.
  • FemmeVarie
    I would put it at worse than indentured servitude. I'd go so far as to call it wage slavery.
  • teachpeace
    I want nothing more than BP to pay recompense for the damage to all that they've hurt...
    and repair the environment.

    But Where Are the Telethons, Charity Concerts, Red Cross And 1-800-Donations
    for the Gulf States/People?

    Tsunami's and Earthquakes rate but Environmental Disasters do not?
  • barrelhse
    This is not a natural disaster. Why should I give BP any money to clean up the hell they've created? BP is also responsible for the loss of livelihood to the residents. You are asking us to pick up the tab, but I just don't have any fucking money right now. How about BP steps up instead?
  • teachpeace
    To those who reply;

    I value all input ; points and questions raised .
    Yet it is my feeling that folks need help now, yesterday even,
    not years down the road by virtue of BP has 'store bought' better team of lawyers to
    drag this on for all intent and evil purpose.
  • SynGas
    I feel that the U.S. gov't should put the military in charge of this situaion, maybe the National Guard, arrest BP, kick them out and hire Experts and scientists from all over to fix the problem and clean the mess and make sure this doesn't happen again. Instead it appears that the US military is taking orders from criminal BP and making the problems worse while censoring the Truth about what is happening, all to help BP's stock price so BP can maintain it's Business as Usual as best it can. Boycott BP. Make them disappear. Push the Free Press. Our Press is controlled by British Petroleum! How ironic. Our tax dollars are funding Troops doing military actions in Countries run by fanatics because Oil companies have been exploiting their Oil reserves. Send them to the Gulf and the rest of the country should figure out how to cut down on Fossil Oil consumption. There are many ways to do it. The sooner we do it the less power and money these Oil bastards will have.
  • teachpeace
    I value all input ; points and questions raised .
    Yet it is my feeling that folks need help now, yesterday even,
    not years down the road by virtue of BP has 'store bought' better team of lawyers to
    drag this on for all intent and evil purpose.
  • Savantster
    with an act of nature, there is no one to go after for money to fix things.. with a man made disaster through malfeasance, we can drag BP over the coals and bleed them dry until they finish doing the right thing by the people they hurt.

    there is no need to hold charities or telethons as long as BP has assets we can sell.
  • crash2parties
    "bleed them dry" Oh, but you made a funny!

    They are not going to be bled dry. At most it'll be like a flesh and blood citizen giving a pint of blood twice a year. Corporate citizens can't be *forced* to do anything...
  • Savantster
    Of course Corporate "citizens" can be forced, it's called court orders and seizure of assets. Governments do it to humans and companies ALL THE TIME.

    We lack the will, not the authority. The President and the Courts are not looking to push this, so the public is fucked. That doesn't mean we have to be, that means our government is wholly owned by the corporate elite.. a.k.a a corporate fascism.

    The fact that our government is content to fuck us over doesn't mean we should pay a second or third time through donations to do what's already been paid for in taxes.
  • leathersmith
    this is a man-made disaster that could have been and should have been avoided by proper care & maintenance but BP cut every corner they could
  • AtlanticCapers
    Cleaning shit off the beach is not an "alternative employment or businesses" for a fisherman or anybody else. Alternative employment or businesses are those for which one's resources and or skills can be reasonably adjusted to the circumstances. For instance, a fisherman might be able to fish in different waters. It may be reasonable for a fisherman to change his fishing habits, but it is completely unreasonable for a fisherman to be expected to clean shit off the beach.

    BP is selectively taking clauses out of context in order to commit a massive fraud against the people they've already harmed.

    Not one cent of the claims should be offset by any of the work being done for BP by the people of the Gulf. In fact, because BP has committed this massive fraud, additional claims should be made against BP for negotiating labor under false pretenses.

    Further, criminal charges should immediately be brought against the BP lawyers who perpetrated this fraud. Now.

    This is an emergency. Somebody must put these BP lawyers in jail. Right fucking now.
  • WhodaThunkit
    Get your FREE "PROSEUTE BP" bumper sticker http://stickerobot.com/bp/
  • barrelhse
    Can they spel?
  • WhodaThunkit
    They can but it looks like neether one uf uss kan
  • Savantster
    I'm just at a complete loss of what to say.

    On one hand I want to say "tough, you are most likely a right-wing small business type who has always voted to keep government out of the picture... this is what you've been building all these decades; you wanted the capacity to screw other people over to get yours and now that the philosophy you've lived by all that time is kicking you in the nuts you want someone to care about you? gofuckyourself".

    On the other hand, I've never been a supporter of letting companies abuse humans. What our corporately owned governments are allowing to happen to the public is disgusting. These people had their lives upended and livelihoods destroyed by this mega-corp, and yet the company is allowed to add insult to injury and the ability of humans to decide what to do with their lives is being removed from them and being put in the hands of a for-profit machine.

    Seeing as how the corporate takeover of our nation has been facilitated by pro-corporate, right-wing morons.. seeing as how this nation and planet are being destroyed by these knuckle dragging pieces of shit and their ignorance and greed, I guess I ultimately have to say "you reap what you sow" to every right-winger in the Gulf that is being fucked over by BP. We have no teeth to bite BP with because the right-wing has made sure the game is rigged in their favor and have never bothered to THINK about what happens in situations like this... when bigger fish decide to eat them like these littler sharks have done to everyone around them in their smaller ponds for decades.

    I feel terrible for all the decent people who's lives are being destroyed by this. I feel terrible for all the innocent life in the Gulf and surrounding lands that are dying because of this. And I feel rage toward the ignorant pieces of shit that allowed this to happen through years of selfish policy making that has abused others all this time.

    What's more upsetting is that it seems to be something near unique to Americans to be so willfully ignorant, so blatantly stupid on such a large scale as to allow this current situation to exist. Those of us with brains and decency are powerless to do anything about any of this because we'd be disappeared and locked away as "threats to the State" while the moron masses laughed and jeered out of their own ignorance. We (as a Nation) can't be saved because the vast majority would gladly spit on and kill the saviors.

    What an impossible corner the idiots have backed us all into.
  • Balthazars Rebellion
    I would call it Tyranny. Here we have a "foreign" corporation that is forcing Americans into a "service" in order to receive what is rightfully theirs in the first place. The gall BP is displaying is reaching the point of the obscene. BP ruined the Gulf coast residents livelihood, and now the people must bow down and clean up BP's "shit" in order to receive what is already owed to them.
    How much longer are the American people going to take the abuse? How much longer until we actually start standing up for ourselves? How much longer will Americans allow themselves to be "The Bitch".
  • sandi2
    Unfortunately, the masses have been groomed to take this crap for generations. The guys at the top use workers to make themselves richer. Then, they charge high prices for inefficient products and services to get those crappy wages back. They buy up all the property then make us lease the land we build our houses on. And, as if that isn't enough, they insert themselves into governments so they also benefit from our tax dollars.

    For us, because we don't remember it being any other way, it all seems like a legitimate way to live. But it's not. We've been socially manipulated to pretend we're happy with being slaves to the elite. When we decide that our society is actually sick then even others in our exact same position will think we've gone insane when we step off that hamster wheel and try to live freely.
  • Schmice
    Did Bush make many of the MMS and other appointees civil servants so they could be insured tenure in their positions? I heard this sometime ago but don't know if it is true or if true, whether they can be transferred to other departments where they will do less harm.
  • enorceht
    the only way the chimps adminstration appointees could do less harm would be to put them in a 3x6 foot cubicle that's located six feet down
  • heartlessindustrys

    bushs team pushed last minute deals for deregulation.
  • enorceht
    very good article from the latimes -- here's one from rolling stone that shows how it just continued into the next adminstration:

    " ... Instead of cracking down on MMS, as he had vowed to do even before taking office, Obama left in place many of the top officials who oversaw the agency's culture of corruption. He permitted it to rubber-stamp dangerous drilling operations by BP – a firm with the worst safety record of any oil company – with virtually no environmental safeguards, using industry-friendly regulations drafted during the Bush years. ..."

  • crash2parties
    It seems he has royally screwed over every single liberal group that fought hard to get him elected.

    Women - see, "abortion" and "HCR"

    LGBT - see, "DADT", "ENDA", and "DOMA"

    Environmentalists - see, "BP Oil Spill", "dept of the interior"

    Working & Middle class Democrats - see, "Finance Reform", "HCR", "Bailouts"

    Misc. - see, "Immigration",
    "Sunlight Before Signing",
    "Capital gains tax elimination",
    "New American jobs tax credit",
    "401(k) penalties",
    "No jobs for lobbyists",
    "Earmark reform",
    "troops home in 16 months",
    "Freedom of Choice Act",
    "college affordable for all Americans",
    "Executive signing statements",
    "tax increases for sub-$250k families"

    Just added! "no recess appointments" - Dr. Donald Berwick in as head of Medicare, breaking news.

    ...and more! Each of these were very, very specific promises such as $4k for college, and the like, not vague statements. It wouldn't be so bad if he simply couldn't fulfill some of them or even all of them despite trying to do so. What has happened however, is the exact opposite; he has gone out of his way to enact policies that are the opposite of what he promised.

    Because the Democratic Party assumes we won't turn on them.
  • ericroded

    A monkey just flew out of my ass.

    I named it, "Al Franken and Keith Olbermann Supported the Iraq War."
  • LWells
    But Phil Donahue didn't so MSNBC cancelled his show. Their #1 show by the way.
  • BrainRagYell
    Wow, what an astute and on-point observation. Good thing you guys don't let politics corrupt your icy-clear vision. I mean, here you have a story about a corporation not able to clean up its own shit, and an angry woman trying to hold them accountable, but you think Franken and Olbermann have something to do with America's choice to go to Iraq. That's not at all random or petty ... or right, by the way, Franken wasn't even a Senator when the decision about Iraq came up, but don't let facts get in the way of your brilliant perception. Hell, you might as well have thrown in the HNIC because that's someone who's at least affiliated with this story.

    FUCK OBAMACARE ... right?
  • ericroded
    Did you just call the President "N*****?"

    Piece of shit?
  • Schmice
    Thank you for responding to that senseless ericodpiece comment.
  • harrylord
    The money weapon system! In a true democracy, the governing authority would only have as much power as we allowed it, if we allowed it no power, it would have none, if only it were a true democracy, its not, its a Kleptocracy, same as the money, it only has as much value as we place on it, if we place no value on it, it has none, we need to reject these oil soaked petro-backed dollars by canceling the federal reserve notes and, as Ron Paul said, End the Fed.

    The oil tide is high, wipe out BP and the money machine!
  • barrelhse
    Send me yours. Or do you just talk a lot?
  • I knew they would do something like this. But not this soon. I thought and still think they will drag it out for years like Exxon did. They will wait for most of the people to die off. Then they will go before the Corporate Supreme Court and they will reduce the amount to be paid out. They did this with Exxon.

    In an aside to this story. When Palin was interviewed by Couric and was asked what Supreme Court decisions she could name that she disagreed with, she could not name one. And this was at the time when Exxon vs Alaska was before the court getting the judgment reduced. And this was her own state. Now that is dumb.

    These oil companies get millions in subsidies from our government, and waivers for everything. You add to the same from all other country's and you see why they are so rich. And in case you missed it on the news yesterday, BP is still selling oil to the Pentagon even now. Salazar is still there doing nothing. And the Whitehouse is still bowing to BP. And nothing is changing at the MMS that is responsible along with BP for this catastrophe. None of the real and substantive changes have been made. And like the financial collapse none of it is other than cosmetic. No one gets fired no matter what.

    What a lousy government. There is something made in Canada that is more environmentally better for soaking up the oil. But BP will not use it. Why? Because they cannot sell the oil again if they use the product. So they don't. The stuff they use that soaks up the oil and also kills plant and marine life is what they use. Because it does not do as much harm to the oil and they can sell the recaptured oil. Olbermann had a story on it tonight.

    What a fiasco. Still no comment from Bush and Cheney, the original authors of this mess. They own it, but Obama should have changed the rules at MMS when he got into office. He did not. He got Salazar instead and then lost interest. Too bad.
  • hounddogg
    Hey!...US govt...Senators, Representatives...President Obama...you know you can start intervening any time here.
  • starvapor
    Sooo...Welcome to the corporate plutocracy where BP shits all over your yard and then says if you don't work for them to clean up THEIR SHIT from YOUR YARD, they won't pay you for the full price of the damage caused by THEM SHITTING IN YOUR YARD.
    This is almost as pathetic as the fact that the government agrees with their scheme so they can get away with MORE SHITTING IN YOUR YARD.
  • growlroo
    Mind Numbingly corrupt. So If you are a fisherman you get to either: A) Expose to the poisons of the toxic oil B) Ruin your boat and any future potential usefulness as a fishing vessel by running it through the oily glop that is in the coast, or C) get screw by the crook lawyer of BP as they figure out ways to dodge paying you for damages. And the Feds say this is OK?

    Is anyone sure that the Bush Administration didn't get elected to a third term?

    I say we should pump a billion barrels of oil into each and every BP corporate office and then run these crooks out of business, but only after we seize all their assets.
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