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Distance not a factor in BP claims

By Ben Rooney, staff reporter

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The official in charge of managing claims related to the BP oil spill said Monday that distance from the disaster site will not prevent legitimate claims from being processed.

Kenneth Feinberg, who has authority over the $20 billion fund that BP has pledged to compensate individuals and businesses hurt by the spill, said the decision came after elected officials in Florida, including Gov. Charlie Christ, expressed concerns about a "geographic proximity" test.

"After listening to these concerns, I have concluded that a geographic test to determine eligibility regarding economic harm due to the oil spill is unwarranted," Feinberg said in a statement.

He added that each claim is reviewed on a "case-by-case basis" and that those filing claims must still prove that the damages they suffered occurred as a result of the spill. However, he said, "physical proximity from the spill will not, in and of itself, bar the processing of legitimate claims."

The Gulf Coast Claims Facility, as the fund is known, has paid out nearly $1 billion to 50,000 victims throughout the Gulf of Mexico, according to Feinberg. To top of page

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