• News
  • Celebrities
  • Finance
  • Crypto
  • Travel
  • Entertainment
  • Health
  • Others

Feinberg Addresses Questions on Oil Spill Claims

Speaking before Florida’s Oil Spill Economic Recovery Task Force Thursday, oil spill claims administrator Kenneth Feinberg faced lingering questions about “unknown future” of the oil spill claims process as it prepares to enter its next stage. The deadline for filing emergency payments looms on Nov. 23.

The fund is “largely current,” he said, though he acknowledged “some instances of languishing claims.”

So far, the fund has received nearly 302,000 claims and approved more than 89,000 for payment, while 151,172 require additional documentation and most of the rest remain “under review.” Only about 15,000 have been denied. Nearly a third of the claims — almost 92,000 — come from Florida.

Most of the unpaid claims, Feinberg said, are probably fairly new, among the tens of thousands of claims that have flooded the facility since early October.

The task force noted that transparency has been the “Achilles heal” of the claims facility. Claimants have struggled to get information about why they have not received payments.

Task force member and charter boat captain Bob Zales recounted his own experience, which illustrates the problem.

Zales said he went online to check the status of his claim, and found that the facility needed more information to process it. He said he called the fund’s hotline to find out what that meant, and couldn’t get an answer. So he went to his local claims office, where a member of the staff dialed the same hotline and handed him the telephone.

The task force generally agreed that the process has improved since Feinberg first took over, and information has been more forthcoming as the process has matured, though there’s still room for improvement. Feinberg announced two additional upgrades intended to help claimants with similar frustrations.

First, he said claimants would be able to access more details about their claim, including the status and what information was missing, from the facility’s website.

Second, he said that “in the coming weeks” the fund will hire local people to help answer questions in person.

“They’ll know the vagaries of eligibility and damage calculation and be able to provide substantive information” to claimants, he said.

Zales discussed another issue that had been brought up during earlier meetings: problems with documentation. Many deckhands and crew members in his businesses are paid only in cash and seldom keep records. Feinberg had said previously that those workers could bring letters from captains or even their priests to back up their claims.

“Apparently that’s not working either,” Zales said.

If there are claims that are “perfectly legit” that haven’t been paid, that’s “inexcusable,” Feinberg said. “I will look at that myself.”

It raises a question: How can the facility tell the difference between a baseless claim and a claim lacking documentation for some legitimate reason (such as the case described by Zales)?

Feinberg said many of the new claims were among the thousands lacking documentation. “I hope I’m wrong,” he said, but “I doubt that thousands of claims that have been filed since October will ever be documented.”

“I question the emergency nature” of claims not filed until October, he added.

Task force members offered several possible explanations for the recent flood of undocumented claims:

  • The peak tourism season was still in progress when the facility took over the claims process from BP on Aug. 23, so many people and businesses who rely on tourism for their income may have waited until the end of the season to file claims.
  • Many claimants had not thought they were eligible prior to the string of announcements beginning in September that geography would not restrict their eligibility to file claims. Previously, many Floridians had assumed, and in some cases were told by BP, that their losses couldn’t covered because they occurred in places where oil never came ashore.
  • News that Florida claimants would be eligible, and general awareness of the claims process, has spread by word of mouth.
  • Some people may have decided to jump on the bandwagon late in the process to see if they could get a check, even if they did not have a valid claim.

After the Nov. 23 deadline for emergency claims, claimants will be able to accept final payments that will require them to waive their right to sue BP (except in cases of lingering oil-related health problems), Feinberg said.

He said the fund will likely continue to offer the option of short-term interim payments that don’t require claimants to waive their right to sue, a provision requested by officials, including Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum.

Two documents are being drafted that will shed some light on what claimants can expect when the process enters its next stage on Nov. 23, the deadline for filing emergency claims.

The first is a memo from an unnamed legal scholar that will detail how relevant laws, including the Oil Pollution Act, affect claims, including the contentious claims filed from unoiled parts of Florida.

“Nothing this scholar is going to tell me is going to change my view” that geography should not limit eligibility, Feinberg said. Rather, the memo will detail how the courts are likely to view those claims, and thus demonstrate that the facility is “even more generous.”

The second is a draft of the protocol outlining the standards that will be used to weigh final claims, which Feinberg said he would provide to members of the task force as early as next week so he could get their input.

“It was wise to come here today,” Feinberg said. “There is no organization around the gulf where I receive more constructive advice.”

Travis Pillow writes for The Florida Independent.

Discussion & Comments (0)

    Recent Articles

    • Things You Should Know about North America

      Things You Should Know about North America

      Get to know more about North America.

    • Eurovision 2010 Paula Seling Unpredictable Contest

      Eurovision 2010 Paula Seling Unpredictable Contest

      Paula Seling's experience on the Eurovision stage led her to declare that "Eurovision is an unpredictable contest". Which may explain the success of the young Lena from Germany, about whom the predictions before the event did not offer much chances for victory.

    • VIPRow.me - The Best Sports Streaming Website Today

      VIPRow.me - The Best Sports Streaming Website Today

      Have you ever contemplated creating a user-friendly site dedicated to sports-related free live streaming channels?

    • Learn How To Download, Install, And Use The Xnxubd 2022 Frame App

      Learn How To Download, Install, And Use The Xnxubd 2022 Frame App

      XNXUBD 2022 Nvidia users are able to watch thousands of videos and other contents online. XNXUBD 2022 Nvidia New is a piece of software that enables people to watch videos online without having to pay for memberships. On a graphics card, the XNXubd also provides some of the best gaming and virtual reality experiences.

    • Xvideostudio Video Editor Apk Free Download For Pc Full Version In 2022

      Xvideostudio Video Editor Apk Free Download For Pc Full Version In 2022

      A new edition of the Video Editor Apk for xVideostudio.Video Studio has all the latest features, including support for multiple video download formats in HD, FHD, and even 4K resolutions.

    • 9 Best Lotion For Masturbation - Popular Choice For 2022

      9 Best Lotion For Masturbation - Popular Choice For 2022

      Masturbation is a common activity for men and women. It's a natural and risk-free way to explore your body, experience pleasure, and release sexual tension.

    • Reasons Why You Need To Stop Watching Movies From Sflix

      Reasons Why You Need To Stop Watching Movies From Sflix

      Without having to sign up or pay anything, you can watch movies online for free with SFlix. It has more than 10,000 movies and television shows.

    • Coi Leray Mom And Dad's Family History & Wife, Explained

      Coi Leray Mom And Dad's Family History & Wife, Explained

      Coi Leray Collins (born May 11, 1997) is a rapper from the United States. Leray started publishing songs to SoundCloud in 2014, and in 2018 she released her breakthrough track "Huddy" as well as her first mixtape, Everythingcoz.

    • Listen And Download Music On MyFreeMP3 For Free

      Listen And Download Music On MyFreeMP3 For Free

      Are you in a bind and looking for a place to obtain free mp3 songs? Never again will you need to bother, since this article has everything necessary to obtain your solution. Download free music from MyfreeMP3.com, one of the world's most popular websites.