Rep. Grijalva presses BP to reinstate Gulf spill claims process

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) is pressing BP to reinstate its internal claims program after the oil giant shut it down one week ago.

BP ended the claims program for those impacted by the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, taking away the sole avenue for over 10,000 claimants who opted out of the company's settlement agreement.

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"BP has effectively shut down recourse for more than 10,000 people who suffered as a result of the oil company’s negligence and incompetence leading up to and during the 2010 Deep Water Horizon oil disaster,” Grijalva said in a statement Friday.

“These are people whose lives and livelihoods were completely upended by an oil company willing to minimize safety compliance in order to maximize profits. They made their money, and they cause a catastrophe in the process," he added.

The move to end the program comes on the heels of an Environmental Protection Agency decision to lift BP's ban on oil and gas operations in the Gulf.

BP said in a statement on its website that it ended the program because few claimants used it.

"Since the [Court Supervised Settlement Program] began operating in June 2012, the majority of individual and business claims that have been filed have been submitted to the CSSP,” said BP Vice President Geoff Morrell. “Indeed, very few claims were being submitted through the BP Claims Programs when this decision [to close it] was made.”

Grijalva urged the company to reinstate the program "immediately."