Damage compensation payouts have been slow, despite the 20- billion-dollar fund that BP set up after some arm-twisting from US President Barack Obama. The Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF) said this week it has paid out 3.8 billion dollars – a small drop of available money – representing 300,000 claims.

On a return visit to Grand Isle recently, the bright red booms that captured the surface slick were gone. Pelicans dropped arrow- like into the sea, fishing.

Yet few people venture onto the beach these days, and parts of it are still closed.

Dean Blanchard, 52, sits at his office on Grand Isle and despairs – over the future of his fish and seafood wholesale business, after 30 years in the building; over his island; over the next generation of island dwellers.

‘There’s not a night you don’t wake up thinking about oil, and you go to sleep and you’re thinking about oil. It’s always on your mind,’ Blanchard told the German Press Agency dpa.

His seafood business largely collapsed.

‘We’re sitting here losing money and watching BP making billions,’ Blanchard said.

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