Marathon Chamber Proud to fight and stand up for small businesses

Many of you are frustrated with your BP Oil Spill Claims being stuck in purgatory; and BP’s recent attempt to re-negotiate the terms of its previously agreed upon settlement with businesses affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.  Now, the US Chamber of Commerce is actually taking BP’s side in a recent filing to the US Court of Appeals.  Why would the United States Chamber of Commerce side with a foreign corporation that has already caused so much damage to our environment and our Florida Keys economy?  You can spin it any way you choose. But it appears the US Chamber is more focused on BIG business than what really makes our economy turn.  That is small businesses across America and of course here in the Florida Keys.

As your “Chamber CEO” and strong supporter of what Chambers around the world do for businesses, this is very unsettling.  Our mission is to advocate, support, educate, promote, and empower our business-members.  What the National Chamber is currently doing is siding with one, yes one business-member, at the expense of the tens of thousands of their small and medium size members.  For me this is unacceptable and disappointing; no matter how the National Chamber tries to slice it.

But, I am happy and proud to tell our community and our 500+ members something important. Your Greater Marathon Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center is NOT a member of the US Chamber of Commerce. We have never been so proud to say that!

We are proud to say that we have done the exact opposite of what the US Chamber is doing.  After the spill we orchestrated and hosted a televised panel-forum meeting with Coast Guard, NOAA, Monroe County Emergency Management, City, State, BP, and other Federal officials and decision makers to answer questions from our residents, business owners, and their employees regarding the spill.  We were also proactive in educating and empowering our business-members about what they can do to file a successful claim. We presented local attorneys at Chamber Luncheons and other chamber-hosted/sponsored events.  These attorneys specialize in filing claims for businesses and employees.

BP’s irresponsible, indeed criminal, and selfish deeds should not be rewarded or supported by any entity that is charged with representing American businesses. It is regrettable that the largest Chamber in the land is doing such a thing.  BUT, on a local level rest-assured that your Greater Marathon Chamber of Commerce and Board of Directors are strong advocates for your business. For your financial health, long term stability and success.

We will continue to fight the good and necessary fight when and as needed.  As the US Chamber sides with big business, the Marathon Chamber sides with you, our Middle and Florida Keys businesses.

UPDATE ON BP CLAIMS AS OF May 20, 2014: BP recently filed suit to stop all payments on claims and renegotiate the settlement agreement; the Eastern Louisiana District Court just ruled to deny BP a hearing. This is a big win for the private sector/businesses seeking claims! BP will either have to re-initiate the claims process or they can appeal to the Supreme Court for a final ruling.  Of course your Marathon Chamber will keep you apprised.

Have a great June everyone; please be sure to contact us for any business assistance, needs, and any advice you may need.  Our doors are always open and no request is out of bounds.

Most Respectfully,

Daniel Samess                                                                                                                                  CEO                                                                                                                                              Greater Marathon Chamber of Commerce                                                                                          (305) 743-5417                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

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