Oil spill claim payments criteria to be made available for public review


WASHINGTON — Oil spill claims czar Ken Feinberg announced today that he will allow public review of, and comment on, the criteria for final claims payments, hours before lawmakers grilled him on Capitol Hill.

Feinberg said the Gulf Coast Claims Facility will on Wednesday release a draft of its plan for reviewing the final payments and give members of the general public two weeks to offer feedback on the plan.

In an afternoon hearing, a panel of lawmakers applauded the announcement but said it should have been done sooner. While praising Feinberg for listening to complaints about the claims process and making some changes, they said the process is still riddled with problems.

“Like the entire Gulf Coast, Alabama is at a critical juncture,” Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, told Feinberg. “The Gulf Coast Claims Facility is not acting with appropriate urgency.”

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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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