Oil spill claimants will be eligible for final payments equal to twice the value of their documented damages for 2010, according to a draft methodology (available below) released Wednesday by the Gulf Coast Claims Facility.

Claims administrator Kenneth Feinberg said the doubling of 2010 damages was intended to account for the unknown future faced by the Gulf Coast. Under the formula, areas that suffered greater losses, such as the Florida panhandle, which relies heavily on its summer tourism season, would also receive greater compensation for losses yet to occur.

According to the Mobile Press-Register, Feinberg said he expected losses for all of 2011 to be roughly 70 percent and losses for 2012 to be 30 percent of what they were in the eight months that followed the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. He also said he would be recalculating the formula every four months, as conditions change.

Feinberg said his team “canvassed the universe” seeking information. His formula was based largely on two studies commissioned by the fund to estimate the future economic and ecological consequences of the spill (available below), as well as consultations with various groups along the Gulf Coast.

The fund will now be taking public comments for two weeks before the methodology is finalized. Comments will be posted on its website.

The fund stopped making emergency payments in December, and the next round of payments has yet to begin. Has the long wait prompted more claimants to choose the facility’s “quick pay” option, in which they can accept a lump sum of $5,000 for individuals or $25,000 for businesses, in exchange for waiving their right to sue BP or seek future payments?

“I see no evidence of that at all,” Feinberg said

So far, the fund has made 32,465 “quick payments” in Florida, for a total of nearly $323 million — almost a third of the money the state has received overall. Roughly 46,000 Floridians have filed claims for final or quarterly “interim” payments.

See anything in Feinberg’s formula that deserves more scrutiny? Share your thoughts: Travis(at)Florida independent(dot)com.

Oil Spill Payment Methodology

Feinberg Oil Spill Studies

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