HOUSTON (Reuters) - The administrator of BP Plc's
$20 billion compensation fund has paid $43
million to residents of the U.S Gulf Coast who agree not to sue
the company for damages stemming from the nation's worst
offshore oil spill.
The spill closed commercial and recreational fishing
waters, hurt tourism and shut down deepwater drilling, causing
job and income loss for those industries that are critical to
the region's livelihood.
Fund administrator Kenneth Feinberg announced a "quick pay"
option on Dec. 13 for those who are satisfied with the
emergency compensation they have received from the Gulf Coast
In that process, people receive a final lump-sum payment of
$5,000 and businesses receive $25,000, and forfeit the right to
pursue additional claims against BP.
The "quick pay" option has come under criticism from
lawyers and politicians. In a Dec. 16 statement, the attorneys
general of Mississippi and other Gulf Coast states urged people
to carefully evaluate any final claim offers from the GCCF,
citing the uncertain nature of future damages.
Apart from the "quick pay" option, residents have the
option to file for interim payments and final payments.
To date, the GCCF has paid $2.6 billion in claims to
467,889 claimants. Only one final claim of $10 million has been
paid to a business, but most payments have been for emergency
compensation for lost earnings and profits.
Feinberg, whose salary BP pays, has hired lawyers from
firms in Mississippi, Florida and Louisiana to work in Gulf
claims offices and assist residents, the GCCF said Tuesday.
(Reporting by Anna Driver. Editing by Robert MacMillan)
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