Oil from Deepwater Horizon spill piles up on white sand beach, Perdido Key, Florida
Tallahassee, Florida - Nearly three years after the BP oil spill, the company is still paying claims to people who suffered losses.
Claims administrator Patrick Juneau told Gov. Rick Scott and members of the Florida Cabinet Wednesday that the Deepwater Horizon Claims Center has paid out $1.6 billion since last June and it's prepared to pay more.
Juneau said the center has received 106,000 claims from the five Gulf states in that time with more than 34,000 coming from Florida. He said the center has paid $245 million to Floridians over the past six months and many Floridians can still make a claim. The deadline to apply is April, 2014.
Juneau calls the BP claims process the biggest and most complex matter in the history of the United States, but he says the revamped program will operate better than the Gulf Coast Claims Facility.
"It is a settlement agreement on steroids. It is as explicit as you can get. I've never seen one like it in my history of dealings all over the country as a special master. "Big, important things are going to happen in this state. I don't think any of us in this room are ever going to see anything of this magnitude ever occur in this five-state region, and to BP's credit, for their commitment to do the funding of what we're doing here."
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi says she's planning to go on a statewide tour with Juneau to emphasize that people can still submit claims for losses from the BP oil spill.
"We're going to stand out on docks from Key West to Pensacola, the two of us together and say, 'Please come. You have a claim. So many people are entitled to this money.' Even if you're not sure, submit a claim. The good thing about this is we have over a year to get this done."