Fishermen Flounder as Details of Settlement for BP Oil Spill Await Resolution
CRESSKILL, N.J., March 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Despite promises of quick payments, it may be months if not years before plaintiffs associated with the BP Gulf Oil Spill receive compensation. The settlement covers lawsuits brought by more than 100,000 fishermen who lost work, cleanup workers who suffered illness, and others who claimed harm from the April 2010 BP Gulf Oil Spill. RD Legal Funding, LLC ("RD Legal") is offering lawsuit settlement funding to plaintiffs who are experiencing financial hardship as soon as their settlement amounts are determined.
The Gulf's commercial fishermen are among the hardest hit by the BP Gulf Oil Spill, one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history. Before the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded, the Gulf of Mexico was one of the U.S.'s most productive fishing grounds, producing about 40 percent of the fish in the lower 48 states. The estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil which flowed into the Gulf between April 20th and July 15th, 2010, when the sea-floor oil gusher was capped, wreaked havoc with the Gulf fishing industry, contaminating beaches and shorelines and polluting much of the area's ecosystem.
The Commercial Fishermen of America estimated that damages to the Louisiana fishing industry could total $2.5 billion. Within the first year of the spill, the volume of fish pulled from the Gulf dropped for most species, according to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Fish stocks have not yet returned to pre-spill levels and the long-term effect of the Gulf Oil Spill on Gulf fishing stocks is still not known.
An October 2010 study commissioned by the regional economic development agency Greater New Orleans, Inc. predicted that Gulf fishing would return to normal by 2013 but said that "Realistically, true loss to the ecosystem and fisheries may not be accurately known for years, or even decades." (http://www.nola.com/business/index.ssf/2010/10/bp_oil_spill_may_cost_louisian.html)
The Greater New Orleans, Inc. study estimated the short-term economic impact of the spill on fisheries, the fishing industry and fishermen at $172 million. But the report projected losses in gross revenue from 2011 to 2013 to Gulf fisheries for only seven major marine species including shrimp, crab and oysters. It did not include projection for losses related to long-term environmental damage, consumers' declining confidence in Gulf seafood, or damage to the seafood processing and recreational fishing industries.
The report forecast that 2,650 to 3,975 jobs would disappear with earnings losses of $68 million to $103 million. Estimates of fishermen's lost income were low because the study forecast that the fishermen would earn income helping with the clean-up. But many of the fishermen hired by BP to help with the clean-up are now suing BP for damages because their health was damaged during the clean-up by exposure to harmful chemicals. Other fishermen are suing BP for the company's failure to live up to its obligations under the "Vessels of Opportunity" Program.
The impact of the BP Oil Spill on the Gulf fishermen's way of life cannot be measured. The BP oil spill has threatened or even ended that way of life for thousands of families who have fished the Gulf for generations. Depression, anxiety, fatigue and anger are compounding their economic woes.
Before the BP Gulf Oil Spill, Tracy Kuhns fished for shrimp and crab off the Fatty Matty out of Barataria, Louisiana. She said, "I am worried about the younger generation and the people with young families. But even the older guys are having a hard time – what else are they going to do at this age? Is our way of life going to be over forever?" (http://www.cfafish.org/featured-fisherman-archives/mike-roberts-and-tracy-kuhns). Tracy co-founded the Association of Family Fisherman to help protect the ecological balance and health of the bayous and waterways that the fishermen's livelihoods and culture depends on.
Twenty-two years after the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the Alaska fishing industry has still not returned to normal. Interim settlement funding can help Gulf fishing families sustain their traditional way of life. RD Legal provides personalized service and quick turnaround. Once the necessary documentation is received, RD Legal can wire funds within days.
Attorneys representing plaintiffs in the BP Oil Spill Litigation, as well as plaintiffs themselves, should contact RD Legal at 1-800-565-5177 for more information about immediate settlement financing.
Founded in 1997, RD Legal has established itself as one of the nation's leading providers of post-settlement financing to attorneys and plaintiffs. For more information about RD Legal, please visit http://www.legalfunding.com.
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