Kenneth Feinberg, the independent administrator of BP’s $20 billion oil spill compensation fund, announced the latest change today to the way he distributes money to victims of the spill.
Feinberg said he will no longer determine the validity of claims based on a claimant’s geographic proximity to the oil spill. The policy has come under fire by many observers, who said that the spill’s impacts spread far beyond the Gulf of Mexico, as I reported back in August. In addition, many Florida officials have raised concern that residents of the state might not get adequate consideration under the process if oil did not hit the shore near their home or business.
In a statement on the change in policy, Feinberg said:
“I have heard from elected officials in Florida, including Governor Crist, Attorney General McCollum, CFO Sink and others, about their concerns regarding Floridians’ proximity to the spill and how, regardless of distance, there has been economic impact beyond the areas closest to the spill. After listening to these concerns, I have concluded that a geographic test to determine eligibility regarding economic harm due to the oil spill is unwarranted.”