The BP oil spill fund for the Gulf of Mexico has paid out $5 billion of $20 billion set aside for recovery, claims administrator Kenneth Feinberg says.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The fund to compensate Gulf Coast businesses and residents for damages from last year's BP oil spill says it has paid out $5 billion of the $20 billion set aside for recovery.
The Gulf Coast Claims Facility, which took over the claims process from BP () in August 2010, has approved 38% of the 947,892 claims submitted, according to an executive summary it released Tuesday.
The fund, which has employed as many as 3,000 people, has received claims from all 50 states and 36 countries.
The vast majority of the claims paid have gone to five states. Florida residents and businesses have been paid $2 billion, more than any other state. Louisiana recipients have been paid $1.5 billion. Recipients from Alabama, Mississippi and Texas round out the top five, respectively.
The historic environmental disaster was the worst oil spill in U.S. history, claiming 11 lives and spewing over 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf.
The spill had wide-ranging economic consequences in the region. Businesses such as fishing, oyster harvesting and charter fishing boats, were impacted directly by oil in the water. Restaurants, hotels and rental properties that depend on tourism money saw a drop-off in sales, even in cases where there was no oil visible on the beaches.
"It is interesting to point out the different nature of the claims coming from Florida, largely tourism, as opposed to Louisiana, largely commercial fishing," said Kenneth Feinberg, the head of the fund and the former administrator of the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund.
As the leader of the fund, Feinberg has taken heat from both BP for being too generous in his payments and from the government for being too stingy in his payouts.
Many of the claimants who were denied payouts say the process was unfair. The U.S. Coast Guard, which has reviewed more than 1,000 claims from unhappy claimants, has sided with Feinberg's decisions.
Also, for the sake of full transparency, the fund has agreed to be independently audited by the U.S. attorney general by the end of the year, according to the executive summary.
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