BP oil spill compensation chief Ken Feinberg unveiled plans to make interim and final payments to those hurt by last summer’s spill this morning.
“It has taken me over three months to canvass the experts, the available literature about the future of the Gulf, to try and come up what I think is a reasonable approach to predicting the future,” Feinberg said in a teleconference with members of the media this morning. “Prediction is not an exact science.”
Feinberg’s proposed methodology will offer each claimant the larger of:
- Double each claimant’s 2010 actual documented losses less than $500,000 for most claimants and four times each eligible oyster harvester’s 2010 actual documented losses; or
- The total actual documented losses through the date of the filing of the final claim.
The final payment calculation for those claiming damages in excess of $500,000 will be determined on an individualized basis after analyzing input from the claimant and experts retained by Feinberg’s Gulf Coast Claims Facility.
“In an effort to promote transparency … I am establishing a public comment period where anybody can comment on the methodologies I am proposing today,” he said.
A two-week public comment period will run through Feb. 16, giving claimants, public officials and other interested parties an opportunity to comment on the proposal. Those comments will be posted on the facility’s website, with some possibly incorporated into the final protocol.
Final and interim payments will begin in February after the conclusion of the public comment period.
The documentation for interim and final payments will be “more rigorous and exacting” than the minimal documentation required for the emergency payments made in from August to November, the first three months of the life of the claims facility.
“Each claimant is required to establish both actual financial loss and the connection between the loss and the oil spill,” according to the proposed protocol. “For example, a claimant might provide documentation of canceled orders for goods or services, disruptions to the supply of Gulf seafood, a termination of employment or reduction in wages that an employer confirms was caused by the oil spill.”
Since the claims facility assumed responsibility for the claims process in August, it has paid about $3.5 billion to approximately 170,000 individuals and businesses around the Gulf.