The White House offered an explanation Wednesday of how its new independent claims process would work for those harmed by the BP oil spill, including details of a $20 billion escrow account funded by the British oil giant.
NEW DAMAGE CLAIMS PROCESS:
- A new independent claims process will be set up to be “fairer, faster and more transparent” in paying for damage to people and businesses. Local, state, tribal and federal government claims will continue to be handled directly by BP.
- The claims process will be administered by Kenneth Feinberg, who administered funds to compensate victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and compensation for executives whose companies received federal bailout money.
- Any appeals of Feinberg’s decisions will be heard by a three-judge panel. Dissatisfied claimants keep all current rights under law, including the right to go to court or to the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund.
- All claims adjudicated in this process have access to the escrow account for payment.
NEW BP ESCROW ACCOUNT:
- BP has agreed to contribute $20 billion over a four-year period at a rate of $5 billion per year, including $5 billion this year. BP will provide assurance for these commitments by setting aside $20 billion in U.S. assets.
- BP reaffirmed its commitment to pay all oil removal costs and damages it owes as a responsible party, and will not assert any liability cap under the U.S. Oil Pollution Act to avoid liability.
HELP FOR OIL RIG WORKERS, HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT:
- BP will contribute to a foundation $100 million to support unemployed oil rig workers.
- BP has previously committed $500 million for the 10-year Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative to improve understanding of the impacts of and ways to mitigate oil and gas pollution. As a part of this initiative, BP will work with governors, and state and local environmental and health authorities to design a long-term monitoring program to assure the environmental and public health of the Gulf Region.
(Editing by Eric Beech)
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