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Gulf Coast Residents May Finally Settle BP Claims with $8 Billion Agreement

By Rhonda Miller | Published 20 Mar 2012 07:17pm | comments

The long and frustrating process of getting BP oil spill claims paid could soon be resolved for thousands of Gulf Coast residents. MPB’s Rhonda Miller reports a settlement of nearly $8 billion dollars is in the works.

On the dock at Back Bay in Biloxi, shrimper Hoi Nguyen is just finishing repairs on his boat, named My Angel Two.  

Through an interpreter, he says he had to borrow $28,000 to have the engine rebuilt.

"He says he’s just waiting for the BP settlement right now."

Nguyen is hoping his BP claim is among 100,000 paid as part of a settlement of nearly $8 billion being overseen by a federal court in New Orleans.

Ocean Springs attorney Robert Wiygul says his firm is representing 1,000 clients in the oil spill litigation, about 100 of them from Mississippi.

"Some of them are fishermen, some of them are in tourism-related businesses, some of them are property owners."

Wiygul thinks the settlement offers will be generous, so the cases can finally be wrapped up.

"The Gulf Coast Claims Facility claims will continue to be processed. But people will have the option of choosing their payment from the Gulf Coast Claims Facility or their payment through the settlement process, whichever is better for them."

Architect Kelley Bishop of Litehouse Construction in Ocean Springs says her small company was in the midst of a large project when the BP oil spill hit. The project ended mid-stream.

"Basically, the status of our business is we’re just trying to survive right now. And we’re trying to keep our doors open in Mississippi. And unfortunately, with where things are, we may not be able to do that."

Bishoop is like thousands of Gulf Coast residents who are hoping they can settle their BP claims and get back to business. The court will review the proposed settlement in mid-April.

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