More than four years after the BP oil spill, the full extent of the impact is still unknown. That’s because environmental experts are still uncovering damage. Just last month, a massive tar mat, measuring 32 feet long and 9 feet wide, was discovered off of Gulf Islands National Seashore’s Fort Pickens Beach.
Florida Panhandle officials are working to clean up, by hand, the 1,700 pound mat of oil, sand, shells and water. In addition, crews are also still finding evidence of a controversial dispersant in tar balls along the Gulf Coast. Residents have continued to express great concern over the potential health hazard of the chemical, of which more than 1.8 million gallons was used.
Economically speaking, businesses and individuals have also had to endure uncertainty as BP has used every legal stall tactic imaginable to keep from making good on its promise to compensate them for their losses after the spill. On May 28th, the presiding judge directed payments to resume, but the process is moving slowly due to a new policy BP was able to insert two years after agreeing to the Settlement Program in Court.
The window for submitting claims remains open, likely through November, 2014. All businesses along the Gulf Coast should be evaluated to find out if they qualify for a claim through the objective Program. Every business within these designated zones whose financials prove economic harm under the Program’s criteria has the right to recoup funds lost at no fault of their own.