+ Claims administrator Kenneth Feinberg met with Attorney General Bill McCollum today, as promised, to discuss plans to keep Florida’s oil spill victims from going to court (more after the jump).
+ Florida officials are worried that some oil spill claims aren’t being paid quickly enough. Many businesses, including this one in Alabama, may have to shut down if their checks from Feinberg don’t arrive soon.
+ Those tens of millions of dollars BP promised to fund oil spill research in the gulf are also not moving very fast. At a panel discussion held Tuesday at the University of Florida, Florida State University oceanographer Ian MacDonald called on BP to pay for restoration and research in the gulf.
+ BP is telling analysts that it estimates the spill will cost some $32 billion, but that claims payments may not reach $20 billion, and that it may resume paying dividends to investors as early as this year.
+ New restrictions on deep-water oil drilling are slowing applications for shallow-water rigs as well, the Associated Press reports.
+ The Bureau of Ocean Energy plans to raise oil rig inspection fees fees to help pay for offshore drilling oversight. The oil industry is arguing that the increase will cost jobs.
+ A new report from the Center for Progressive Reform contends that federal disaster-response plans paid inadequate attention to worker safety.
+ A massive fish kill has been reported in an area off the coast of Louisiana affected by the spill, but the cause has not been determined.
Feinberg, McCollum hold “constructive” meeting
Today, Attorney General Bill McCollum held the meeting he sought with oil spill claims administrator Kenneth Feinberg to discuss his concerns that many Floridians would be left out of the claims process — and Feinberg’s preliminary plans for addressing them.
McCollum came away “cautiously optimistic,” the Palm Beach Post reports.
Feinberg is “inclined to and likely to” take the impact on tourism into consideration when approving claims, McCollum told reporters this morning.
“We lost tourism big. There is no doubt about that,” McCollum said.
Feinberg expressed “vagueness in response” to the tourism issue but “he’s going to find a way to be able to honor tourism claims,” McCollum said.
He reportedly told McCollum to expect a written version of his final protocol for payments within three weeks.