Frustration grows over oil spill claims process

ST. MARTIN, MS (WLOX) - By Doug Walker – bio | email

ST. MARTIN, MS (WLOX) - The line of people outside the Gulf Coast Claims Facility in St. Martin forms early, and grows quickly.  Parking is at a premium. A nearby business even blocks off access to its parking lot with crime scene tape.

The line continues get bigger, but moves quickly.  One of those in line is Alan Moulton, a painter who's been out of work for months after the housing market crashed. He blames at least part of that on the oil spill.  He said standing in line is a chance worth taking.

"I found out about this and I figured I'd come down here and try it," Moulton said.

But he's not very hopeful either.

"The economy was bad anyway and this just added to it. People can't get rid of the houses they have now and people are getting foreclosed on all the time."

People from all walks of life stand in line, hoping for the best. Among them is a young mother with a one-year-old baby.  She's lost half her income waiting tables.

Everyone knows the financial difficulties these people have endured since the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. What folks may not realize is the mental problems these people have suffered as well, because of that spill.

Becky, who did not want her last name used, is uneasy these days.

"It's very difficult to put into words," Becky said.  "I'm afraid for my environment , I don't know what the long term effects of this are going to be."

It's been a difficult summer for Becky.  She works in the hotel industry and had her hours cut back dramatically after the spill.

"I am very stressed because I have not just my own bills, but my daughter's bills. And I don't know if I'm going to be able to keep her in college because my income has been reduced so significantly."

What's also significant is the growing sense of frustration the people in this line feel on a daily basis.

The man who oversees the process, Washington attorney Kenneth Feinberg, says 160,000 claims have been filed so far since the spill began. Of those, about 64,000 claims have been paid, totaling $1.5 billion.

Learn more about the claims process, and who qualifies for assistance at

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