BILOXI, MS (WLOX) – Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood says he doesn't trust BP, and is worried the oil giant will do everything it can to slow down the claims process.
Hood, along with attorneys general from Louisiana and Alabama met with BP Claims Administrator Ken Feinberg in Biloxi Friday. Feinberg is the man who will ultimately decide how $20 billion in BP claims money is distributed.
"We took Mr. Feinberg behind the woodshed for a couple of hours to express our concerns about the draft claims protocol he had circulated," Hood said. "We coastal attorneys general developed an alternative claims protocol that was exponentially more consumer/claimant friendly."
There are two key points the attorneys general hope Feinberg takes away from their talks.
"We want the process to be open and fair," Hood said. "I learned that from the insurance wars after Katrina."
By adhering to the claims protocol presented Friday, Hood and the others are convinced the process will be transparent. Hood said that's important, because he doesn't trust BP.
"Based on their track record, if you compare them to Exxon Mobil, this company is one of the very worst. They are one of the biggest gambling risk companies out there."
Hood's convinced once things calm down a bit, BP will be heading to court. He said the company is anxious to do that. He thinks the oil giant's ultimate goal is to slow down the claims process nearly to a standstill.
"They will begin an entrenched litigation process as soon as the well is fully capped, and you in the media stop paying attention to it. You will see them come in with a fleet of lawyers like you have never seen before." Hood said. "I hope that they don't go down the track that Exxon did in the Valdez spill where it went on for 20 years."
Hood is convinced the state will get its money from BP. But he's concerned the so called little guy might be trampled in the process.
"I will do everything humanly possible to fight for them."
Thursday, Governor Haley Barbour sent a letter to Attorney General Hood asking that he hold off on filing suit against BP, and give the claims process time to work. Hood said in response that he was focused on making sure Mississippi and its citizens "collect every dime that they are owed, by whatever means is necessary and proper according to the law."