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Protestors target BP offices

Cite slowness in paying Gulf oil crisis claims to poor residents

HOUSTON, TX (UPI) | October 20, 2011

Protesters targeted BP's Houston headquarters Thursday, saying the British oil giant failed to settle with thousands of victims of last year's gulf oil spill.

The Houston Chronicle reported Operation People for Peace, which organized the demonstration, said Houston was the fourth site of the protest. Earlier protests targeted BP facilities in Florida, Alabama and Louisiana.

The report did not give an estimate of the size of the protest.

The newspaper said protest participants included human rights activist Art Rocker, chairman of Operation People for Peace, and E. Faye Williams, chairwoman of the National Congress of Black Women. Protesters also included activists from Occupy Houston, the city affiliate of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

In a prepared statement, Rocker said: "Many individuals were severely damaged and have not been compensated for their losses, despite our best efforts to date. Most of these people are minority and poor people who BP has chosen to ignore while settling with other people who are well connected politically."

The Chronicle said BP spokesman Tom Mueller issued his own statement Thursday, saying protesters should take their concerns to the official route.

"Representatives from BP have met with Mr. Rocker several times in our New Orleans Gulf Coast Restoration Organization office," Mueller said. "We understand that Mr. Rocker's concerns are with the Gulf Coast Claims Facility and have encouraged him to reach out directly to Ken Feinberg [appointed by President Obama] and the GCCF to resolve any outstanding issues. The GCCF claim administrators exercise their own judgment with respect to the evaluation and payment of claims."

Feinberg is the administrator of the $20 billion compensation fund agreed upon by BP and Obama for Gulf Coast oil spill victims.

The largest offshore oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry began in April 2010 when an explosion killed 11 men working on the BP rig. The resultant spill spewed an estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. After many unsuccessful attempts, the wellhead finally was capped in July 2010.

Copyright 2011 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.

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