Remaining BP settlement claims to be processed by end of the year

The final claims for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill settlement will be processed by the end of the year, the settlement’s claims administrator said today, as the historic payment process approaches its end.

Since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on April 20, 2010, killing 11 people and dumping 4 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days, $11 billion in claims has been approved by Patrick Juneau, the court-appointed administrator of the settlement. BP has settled for nearly $20 billion more in an agreement with the federal government and the five Gulf states impacted by the spill.

For Louisiana, that has meant around $13 billion in compensation for the oil spill, including more than $5 billion for coastal restoration, Juneau said at the Press Club of Baton Rouge’s weekly meeting today. Out of 388,055 claims filed through the settlement Juneau handles, more than 172,000 claims have been deemed eligible for payments.

“If we’re smart,” Juneau said, “you can develop the expertise for the world for coastal restoration right here in the state.”

The deadline for claims was in 2015, and Juneau is processing the remaining claims for four areas: individual economic loss, business economic loss, subsidence and wetlands. Juneau has 31,296 claims left to complete, and he said they will be done, aside from the appeals process, by the end of 2017.

“This has had an incredible economic impact on this state,” he said.

Juneau also defended himself against claims made several years ago that his office paid out fraudulent claims, noting he simply processed claims under the settlement agreement BP signed. Juneau’s office was caught in a legal challenge by BP and for several months had to cease claims payments.

East Baton Rouge Parish has been allocated $250 million from BP’s settlement, which includes promotional grants, money for local governmental entities and eligibility awards.

—Sam Karlin

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