Vitter, Nungesser Push For Funding From BP
The Anniversary of the BP oil spill is this week and Sen. David Vitter is leading a movement to have BP pay up and take care of what was damaged by the oil spill.
WASHINGTON — With the anniversary of the BP oil leak approaching, the administrator of financial claims against BP defended his operation Monday, saying that it has processed 300,000 claims worth $3.8 billion to victims.
The report from Gulf Coast Claims Facility administrator Ken Feinberg came on a day when the investigative arm of Congress, the General Accounting Office, expressed alarm that the spending of federal funds as a result of the leak was fast approaching its $1 billion cap.
Meanwhile, in Louisiana, U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., and Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser were pushing for more upfront money from BP for coastal restoration efforts.
Feinberg has faced criticism from Vitter and others that his organization has operated too slowly and failed to provide adequate compensation to victims of the leak. Pointing to the numbers, Feinberg countered his detractors.
“The GCCF is working, it’s working as intended,” Feinberg said. “We’re doing something right; the money is going out.”
Since opening, the facility has received 857,000 claims from 504 individuals and business owners, Feinberg said. The facility has processed three out of four emergency advance payments worth $2.6 billion to 169,000 individuals and businesses, he said.
Another 110,000 Quick Payments of $5,000 for individuals and $25,000 for businesses have also been made worth $1 billion, Feinberg said.
About 16,000 claims have been made for final payments worth $222 million. Claimants can also file for interim payments every three months for losses incurred. About 7,000 claimants have received about $79 million through those payments, Feinberg said.
BP set up a $20 billion claims fund administered by Feinberg to those damaged by the leak. Recipients waive their right to sue BP in a system set up to avoid costly and prolonged litigation.
The April 20 explosion on the BP Deepwater Horizon rig killed 11 men, injured 17 others and resulted in a discharge of 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico over three months in the summer.
Feinberg defended rejecting 65,000 claims that he said were unsubstantiated.
“I will not pay claims that lack proof. I won’t do it,” Feinberg said.
One claimant filed for the whole $20 billion while another claimed $10 billion, he said.
What do you think of BP's handling of the Oil spill and the claims from people effected by the spill?