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Gulf oil spill: $130 million paid out to businesses, others affected by BP disaster

July 4, 2010 | 11:43 am

About $130 million dollars has been paid out so far to help local businesses, employees and others affected by the massive gulf oil spill, said Kenneth Feinberg, who was chosen by President Obama to independently administer financial claims.  

He added that the $130 million does not include funds from a $20-billion fund set up by BP to assist set up to help the fishermen, shrimpers, shop owners and others whose ability to make a living has been hampered by the spill.

"You have to look at each and every case," said Feinberg, speaking from Washington on the "Fox News Sunday." "Are you losing business this year because you can't take charter fishermen out to fish? You can't take a charter boat for sightseeing? You can't go into the marshes of Louisiana?"

Feinberg said that potential victims will have to prove damages before they can be assisted.

"Oil, physical presence of oil, should not and will not be the only requirement" for help, he said. "There are going to have to be some tough decisions made as to who is eligible and who is not eligible. And so I will look at the claims; I'll look at the underlying facts of those claims."

Feinberg is an attorney who specializes in mediation projects. He previously served as the "special master" in administering the compensation fund for victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. And he has overseen the compensation for top business executives of companies that have received federal bailout money. This time, he said, it is neither BP nor the Obama administration whom he represents.

"I'm working for the people in the Gulf," he said. "I want to try and maximize as much compensation as I can do, fairly and consistently, to the people I'm trying to serve down there."

-- Richard Serrano in Washington