From: Matthew Bigg, Reuters, ATLANTA
Published February 3, 2011 06:02 AM

Gulf recovering from BP oil spill quickly

The Gulf of Mexico should recover from the massive BP oil spill by the end of 2012, the administrator of the $20 billion victims compensation fund said Wednesday.

By that time, most of the harmful effect of the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history will have dissipated and the economy should have picked up, said Kenneth Feinberg, independent administrator of the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF).


On the basis of the estimate, the fund plans to make final payments of twice the documented 2010 damages minus payments already made through the fund, Feinberg said.

"For every claimant who is eligible other than oyster harvesters, we believe at the GCCF that it is reasonable to conclude full recovery by the end of 2012. There will be gradual recovery over the next two years," Feinberg said.

"Document any claims and we will double it minus the offset," he told a news conference.

But for oyster fishermen the figure would be four times the amount of documented damages sustained in 2010 because of uncertainty over the rate of recovery of that industry.

Millions of gallons (liters) of oil poured into the Gulf between last April and July, damaging the fragile wetlands of Louisiana, washing ashore in Mississippi, Alabama and Florida and hitting coastal industries including fishing and tourism.

Many angry Gulf coast residents say the compensation fund has short-changed them and favored BP's interests over their own. They also argue BP is attempting to wriggle out of its commitment to "make this right" for spill victims.

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