BP Claims at Capitol

By: Troy Kinsey Email
By: Troy Kinsey Email

Tallahassee, FL - The oil disaster last spring hit families and businesses up and down the Gulf Coast.

BP was held accountable for an estimated $500 million in damages.

If Florida's governor has his way, that number will continue to rise.

Tough talk and thinly-veiled threats all aimed at one man -- Ken Feinberg.

The administrator of BP's oil spill claims fund was supposed to have testified before a powerful senate committee Monday, but he declined the invitation and lawmakers let loose.

"This man, who's supposed to be taking care of the Floridians that have been negatively impacted by this oil spill, cares no more about their welfare and the restoration of their good fortune than to snub this committee," said Sen. Alan Hays, a Republican from Umatilla.

While lawmakers wait for answers, they're also preparing to file a mammoth claim of their own.

The state wants to get the money from BP it would have made on tourism tax if not for the oil disaster.

That could be hundreds of millions of dollars.

BP also announced it's giving Florida a $30 million grant for advertising to draw tourists to Panhandle beaches this summer.

So far, the company has sent the state $82 million for oil spill cleanup and recovery.

BP Executive Luke Keller said Florida should get its money fast.

"If they are truly related to and approved in the right way before they were spent, then they are reimbursed," said Keller.

The prospect of a statewide claim raises another issue. That money could be used to help tackle the four billion dollar budget deficit without cutting critical programs.

But, the only people who can spend it are lawmakers, and they leave town in three weeks.


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