BP oil claims chief says oil spill tourism losses may be denied

beach at panama city fla.

Tar balls now cover this beach in Panama City, Fla., and as the 4th of July holiday weekend approached it was announced that BP claims for oil spill tourism losses may be denied. Flickr photo.

The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico 2010 hit a grim milestone Thursday as the worst ever in the gulf on day 72 of the disaster. Hurricane Alex put a halt to cleanup efforts this week and pushed oil further onto shore. The booming tourism expected on the Gulf coast as the Fourth of July holiday weekend approaches is virtually non-existent. To make matters worse, government overseer Kenneth Feinberg warned that BP oil claims for oil spill tourism losses may be denied. Meanwhile, the oil spill cap remains attached in the high winds and heavy seas, but it only captures about 25 percent of the crude that continues to spew from the undersea gusher into the gulf.

Feinberg: BP claims for oil spill tourism in doubt

As the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico 2010 killed tourism for the Fourth of July weekend, the man in charge of the $20 billion BP oil spill claims fund bore bad news. USA Today reports that Kenneth Feinberg, appointed by President Obama to handle claims, said companies hurt because tourists have stayed away from the Gulf may not be eligible for reimbursement. Tourism officials and people who make a living from tourism say that the BP oil spill is driving away visitors and costing businesses billions of dollars. Feinberg told the House Small Business Committee in Washington that indirect claims, such as those made by companies that lost revenue because wary tourists stayed home thinking a beach would be damaged, “may not be compensatory.”

BP oil claims: bigger checks faster

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico continues to gush up to 60,000 barrels a day, a team of U.S. scientists has estimated. As many as 6,000 skimming vessels are sidelined by Hurricane Alex. As the environmental and economic disaster spreads with no end in sight, CNN reports that Kenneth Feinberg said his priorities will be to cut bigger checks and send them out faster to the oil spill’s economic victims. The oil company has paid out almost $130 million so far on 41,000 claims — but more than 80,000 claims have been submitted. Instead of the month-to-month emergency checks going out now, Feinberg plans to have his new entity, the Gulf Spill Independent Claims Fund, send out six-month lump sum payments “to give small businesses more certainty.”

BP oil spill worst ever, biggest fine

As the Gulf of Mexico’s white beaches turn brown, wildlife dies off and the fishing industry implodes, The Associated Press reports that the oil that’s spewed for two and a half months from the blown-out well a mile under the sea hit the 140.6 million gallon mark, eclipsing the record-setting, 140-million-gallon Ixtoc I spill off Mexico’s coast from 1979 to 1980. Larry McKinney, director of Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi’s Gulf of Mexico research institute, told AP that the growing total is crucial to track because BP is likely to be fined per gallon spilled. The disaster has cost BP $2.65 billion to date.

Other recent posts by bryanh