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Feinberg vows to move quickly on Gulf claims

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Feinberg vows to carry out Obama's mandate to move quickly
  • Urges claimants fill out forms quickly
  • Met Friday with governors of Louisiana and Mississippi
  • "This cannot be done from Washington"

(CNN) -- The man overseeing the payment of claims to people who have suffered economic losses in the Gulf oil disaster vowed Friday to move quickly on getting money to those affected.

Kenneth Feinberg told reporters in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, that he would work to carry out President Barack Obama's goal of getting money quickly "into the hands of individuals and small businesses that need these funds to stay alive."

But he said those in need must do their part first. "I can't help you if you don't fill out that form and submit the claim," Feinberg said. "We will accelerate the payment of those claims, I assure you."

Feinberg made his remarks after meeting Friday with Govs. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Haley Barbour of Mississippi to discuss the payment system. "This cannot be done from Washington," he said. "This has got to be a local program. That's why I came down here today. That's why, next week, I'll go to Alabama and Florida."

Feinberg said the $20 billion set aside by BP "need not be the final amount that will be available to pay all legitimate claims, and that's comforting to know."

He added, "If it is not enough, it is my understanding that the fund will be replenished by BP."