U.S. Senator George LeMieux today sent a letter to the Administrator of the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, Kenneth Feinberg, requesting a streamlined, simplified, and expedited claims process for those suffering economic damage due to the BP oil disaster.
"The Deepwater Horizon disaster has already taken lives, damaged the environment, and harmed Florida's economy. Unpaid BP claims mean prolonged pain for Florida families dependent on the health of the Gulf for their income," said LeMieux. "Every day that goes by without a payment is a day another family comes closer to losing their job, their business, their home, and their way of life."
The letter states, in part:
"I have received numerous complaints from fishermen, hoteliers, and small business owners detailing the bureaucracy hindering the speed and ease with which these claims should be paid out. Floridians have also told me that once these compensation checks do arrive, they're not enough to cover even basic business costs. Many Gulf coast residents make the majority of their annual earnings from Memorial Day to Labor Day. As a result, irregular and relatively small compensation payments do not fit with these businesses' pre-planned budgeting. You have mentioned the possibility of moving to a larger payment sum structure over longer intervals. I am interested in seeing more details on this proposal, but would continue to stress that every effort and attention should be provided to streamline and simplify the claims process with the objective of getting claimants properly and quickly compensated."
7/2 -- Sen. LeMieux is one of a bipartisan group of lawmakers introducing a package of tax breaks for individuals and small business owners impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster.
6/29 -- On day 70 of the Gulf Crisis, the Coast Guard and the Environmental Protection Agency issue an emergency temporary interim rule clearing the way for hundreds of more skimmers to be able to respond to the Gulf crisis.
6/17 -- Sen. LeMieux meets with National Incident Commander, Admiral Thad Allen for a briefing on the government's ongoing efforts to contain and mitigate the spill. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection states there are only 20 oil skimming vessels operating off the coast of Florida.
6/16 -- Coast Guard Rear Admiral J.A. Watson sends a memo to National Incident Command that there are not enough assets responding to the spill and additional "domestic and foreign" oil spill response vessels are needed.
6/15 -- Sen. LeMieux is in Pensacola and asks President Obama and National Incident Commander, Admiral Thad Allen to clear the way for more skimmers for Florida and the Gulf.
6/14 -- Sen. LeMieux and Congressman Jeff Miller (R-Chumuckla) send letter to President Obama asking him to waive portions of the Jones Act so as to allow more resources to take part in oil mitigation activities in the Gulf. The lawmakers also call on the president to press British Petroleum to expedite the payment of claims.