In Pensacola, Feinberg defends oil spill claims process


Pummeled with criticism from Northwest Florida business owners and political leaders at a meeting at Pensacola City Hall today (Feb. 7), oil spill compensation chief Ken Feinberg defended the actions of his Gulf Coast Claims Facility.

“Overall, the program has run pretty well. The program has paid out billions of dollars,” Feinberg said. “I agree that there’s got to be better way to get the people around this table and the people impacted by this spill a better sense of entitlement and a better sense that their claim is being addressed.”

State Rep. Doug Broxson, however, did not agree that either the claims facility or Feinberg is doing a particularly good job.

“Let us have a peer group, and let BP pay for it, to monitor your actions to let us give you a consistent report card on how you’re doing,” said Broxson, R-Gulf Breeze. “We’ll give you a report card that you deserve. Believe me, if this thing doesn’t get better, we’re going to want someone else sitting in that seat.”

In addition to Broxson, the meeting included Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward III, Pensacola City Council President Maren DeWeese and Escambia County Commissioner Grover C. Robinson IV, as well as Pensacola Bay Area Chamber of Commerce President Jim Hizer, seafood market owner Frank Patti, hotelier Marilyn Hess, restaurant/bar manager Amy Martin and economist Rick Harper, among others.

More on Feinberg’s visit to City Hall and a visit with the Pensacola News Journal’s Editorial Board will be in the paper and on the web on Tuesday.

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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