Kenneth Feinberg: "We must be doing something right"

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The attorney who oversees the BP oil spill claims process said, "I like where we are after one year."

Kenneth Feinberg issued a progress report Tuesday, one year after the opening of the "Gulf Coast Claims Facility(GCCF)."

In the past 12 months, nearly one million oil spill claims were filed, with $5 Billion in damages paid out.

Since opening a year ago this week, GCCF have received claims from all 50 states and 36 countries.

"We have paid over $5 Billion to more than 200,000 individuals and businesses in the gulf. We've processed over 350,000 claims that have been honored," said attorney Feinberg.

The report claims much success in processing and paying claims, but also admits the system isn't perfect and several "mid-course corrections" were made.

For instance, protests by Mississippi casino workers prompted GCCF to take a closer look.

"Casino workers who could prove occupation where tips were factored into their income and the income could be documented, we did go back and take another look at those individual claims and decided to pay those claims," said Feinberg.

The tourism industry was obviously impacted by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Feinberg said the problem is quantifying such damages.

"We've had to deal with this very thorny problem, which I acknowledge is a complex one, of the adverse impact of the spill on tourism. The perception on the part of tourists," said the attorney.

Claimants not satisfied with the decision of the GCCF can appeal their case to the U.S. Coast Guard for an independent review. So far, more than 1,100 cases have gone through that appeals process.

"And in each case, the Coast Guard has ultimately affirmed all individual GCCF determinations. We must be doing something right," said Feinberg.

Claims are still being filed but the numbers are dwindling. That's why some claims offices along the Gulf Coast are being closed.

Florida received, by far, the most damage money paid to claimants in the gulf coast states. Paid claims in Florida total more than $2 Billion compared to less than $400 million paid in Mississippi.

However, Florida residents filed five times more claims than Mississippians did.

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