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BP Confirms That Thousands of Claims Decisions Will Be Deferred

BP acknowledges its decision to hold off paying many claims -- and will wait for Kenneth Feinberg, the independent administrator, to take over.

Earlier this morning, we reported that BP is delaying its decisions about many damage claims from the Gulf oil spill. We wrote that the company is putting off decisions about numerous claims that are not explicitly covered by the Oil Pollution Act, the 1990 federal law that holds oil companies responsible for covering direct "removal costs and damages" from a spill, without telling claimants why their claims were put on hold.

In a press release sent out several hours after our story, BP confirmed that many claims will be deferred until Kenneth Feinberg, the independent administrator appointed by President Barack Obama to oversee the compensation process, takes over the claims system in mid-August.

"There are several thousand claims not clearly within the guidelines of the Oil Pollution Act which guides BP's claims process," Darryl Willis of the BP claims team said in the press release. "Ken and his team are the claims experts. It is right that they make the decisions on these claims."

BP also provided examples of the types of claims -- which it stressed was for "illustrative purposes" and not a comprehensive list -- that the company is currently approving, and those it's deferring for now.

From BP's press release:

Currently Included

  • Restaurants or tourism businesses located in close proximity to a beach or marsh that has been oiled
  • Fisherman, shrimpers, oyster harvesters, etc., and charter boat operators who have been affected by the oil
  • Seafood processors in the affected area who do not have any seafood to process
  • Condo units located on beaches that have been closed due to oil

Deferred to Feinberg

  • Restaurants or tourism businesses not located in close proximity to an oiled beach or marsh
  • Workers affected by the Moratorium
  • Seafood processors outside the Gulf Coast states
  • Values of property not located in close proximity to a beach that was oiled

If you've filed a claim with BP where the decision has been deferred -- or there's anything else about your claims experience that you think ProPublica should know -- fill out this simple form and a reporter will be in touch with you.

Amanda Michel contributed reporting to this piece, and is coordinating our BP claims project.

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