WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) released the following statement after his meeting with Kenneth Feinberg, Administrator for the Gulf Coast Claims Facility:
This morning I had an informative and constructive conversation with Mr. Feinberg about his ongoing efforts to make residents and businesses affected by the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill whole again and to help close this sad chapter in history for the Gulf Coast. During my recent visit to the Gulf Coast I met with citizens and officials who were unhappy with how the claims process has been working. Clearly we have to do a better job to bring a sense of normalcy back to their communities.
It’s important to remember that on his first day on the job, BP handed Mr. Feinberg over 20,000 pending claims that he had to sort through. That’s quite the “in-box”. Mr. Feinberg is uniquely qualified to handle this job, but even he acknowledges that the scope of this responsibility is unlike any he has faced before. While there have been some bumps along the way, it is important to note that over the course of four months when BP ran the claims process, they paid out a little over $400 million in claims. Mr. Feinberg has paid out that same amount in just five weeks. Mr. Feinberg freely admits that it has been a tough job, and his recent steps to get rid of the claims backlog and make payments more quickly is a welcome development, but we have to do better. We’re counting on Mr. Feinberg to continue to provide us transparency and timely information related to his efforts.
In addition to his work to process legitimate claims quickly and fairly, I stressed to Mr. Feinberg the importance of continuing to keep an eye out for fraudulent claims by criminals and scam artists who are trying to use tragedy for their own profit. Mr. Feinberg promised to keep my Subcommittee informed about these issues, and I strongly urge the Department of Justice to provide whatever assistance he needs to make sure the money is going to those who need it.