Oil response team demands BP transparency

thad_allen.gi.top.jpgJUNE 07: U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen briefs reporters at the White House June 7, 2010 in Washington, DC. By Aaron Smith, CNNMoney.com staff writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Adm. Thad Allen, the retired Coast Guard commandant overseeing the response to BP's oil spill, sent a letter to Chief Executive Tony Hayward demanding more information on compensation provided to people affected by the disaster.

Allen plans to meet with BP's senior claims team on Wednesday to discuss the issue.

"We need additional information to assess how well the process is meeting the critical needs of individuals, families and businesses whose livelihoods are being impacted by the spill," wrote Allen, the National Incident Commander in charge of the clean-up.

It was unclear, from Allen's letter, where the meeting would take place and whether Hayward would be attending.

In reference to the meeting, Allen wrote, "We need complete, ongoing transparency into BP's claims process including detailed information on how claims are being evaluated, how payment amounts are being calculated, and how quickly claims are being processed."

BP spokesman Mark Salt responded to the letter in an e-mail to CNNMoney: "We are focused on having a quick and efficient claims process and always looking to improve what can be a complex operation. We will ensure that Admiral Allen's requests are implemented to improve the process as soon as possible."

BP (BP) has said that it will compensate anyone whose business has been impacted by the spill. But the response has been sluggish, partly because of the perception that filing a claim is a cumbersome and inefficient process that's more trouble than it's worth.

Alabama governor Bob Riley said there are 1,000 charter boats from his state not operating because of the spill, but only 74 of them have filed claims to BP. As a result, Alabama officials announced on Tuesday that they're launching a program to help affected workers get the money they're entitled to.

The damages stem from the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, which exploded and sank on April 20 off the Louisiana coast, killing 11 workers. Since then, the oil well has spilled millions of gallons of crude into the Gulf of Mexico. The Louisiana coast has been hit the hardest by the oil slick, and tar balls have washed ashore as far away as the Florida Panhandle.

Since the explosion, BP has spent over $1 billion related to the response. Estimates for the total cost range from $3 billion to $40 billion.

In Florida alone, the oil spill could cost up to $10.9 billion and up to 195,000 jobs could be lost, according to one of the more dire forecasts, from Sean Snaith, director of the University of Central Florida's Institute for Economic Competitiveness.

Hayward has been summoned to testify about the spill before the Committee on Energy and Commerce on June 17. To top of page

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