Yesterday, we published a letter by the Justice Department expressing its concerns about an early draft of Gulf claims chief Kenneth Feinberg's protocol for evaluating final claims. Unlike the emergency payments that Feinberg's operation has offered so far, final claims cover both past and future damages caused by the spill, and claimants who receive them must sign a waiver giving up their right to sue.

Today, Feinberg released the protocol to the public, and you can read it on our document viewer.

The protocol shows that Feinberg has followed some of the Justice Department's advice. For example, the Justice Department called on Feinberg to decide all emergency payments by Dec. 15 and make interim payments -- which will be offered on a quarterly basis under the new system -- available more frequently for claimants who are in financial need. Feinberg has adopted both of these recommendations in his protocol.

Feinberg said in a press conference this morning that his protocol would offer the most favorable terms for compensation of any option available to claimants. "I am determined to be more generous than the courts would be," Feinberg said.

You can read the protocol for yourself, and we will keep you updated as we examine the rules for deciding final claims.