PoliticalNews.me - Oct 12,2010 - “It is apparent that a great deal of confusion exists regarding the claims process, the status of claims, and the process for appeal… I am writing to request that you provide me with clear and direct answers to these questions so that I may make this information available to the public.”
WASHINGTON—On behalf of his constituents, U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) is asking Kenneth Feinberg, the Obama Administration official tasked with administering the claims fund set up by BP, a series of questions to clarify the process of filing claims and appeals relating to the Deepwater Horizon incident.
The questions, sent to Feinberg in a letter, are based on Sessions’ conversations with coastal mayors, individual claimants, and small business owners.
Sessions intends to make the answers he receives public by posting them on his official website www.sessions.senate.gov or via Facebook.
A text of the letter follows:
Mr. Ken Feinberg
1455 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20004
Dear Mr. Feinberg:
As we have previously discussed, Alabama’s coastal economy is largely comprised of hundreds of small tourism-related businesses that rely heavily on the summer vacation season for revenue. These are not large corporate interests with deep financial reserves, but rather sole proprietorships and family-owned firms that have worked hard over many years to prosper and grow.
Today, more than five months after the Deepwater Horizon incident, many of these coastal businesses are fighting for their own survival. They are on the brink, struggling with serious financial challenges stemming from the oil spill and the resulting decline in tourism. The seasonal nature of the local economy means there will be little opportunity to rebound during the coming winter months, when profits are typically small or non-existent.
I am aware that you have recently accelerated payments to some Alabama claimants and altered the rules regarding geographic proximity to the spill for filing claims, decisions that are appreciated. I encourage you to continue to move expeditiously to fulfill BP’s commitment to pay those who suffered physical or economical losses as a result of this disaster.
Based on my conversations with coastal mayors, business owners, and area residents, it is apparent that a great deal of confusion exists regarding the claims process, the status of claims, and the process for appeal. This uncertainty is impeding the ability of local business owners to move forward with financial decisions and to act in the best interest of their business and their employees. It is critical that you provide area residents with certainty about the claims procedure and decision-making process so they may have the confidence necessary to plan for the future.
Much of the uncertainty seems to revolve around the following five areas. On behalf of my constituents, I am writing to request that you provide me with clear and direct answers to these questions so that I may make this information available to the public.
• The most important thing I hear is the need for the fund to be available to compensate claimants for