The U.S. Justice Department has tapped New York-based BDO Consulting to audit the handling of billions of dollars in damage claims that arose from the massive BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
U.S. Associate Attorney General Thomas Perrelli told BDO officials in a letter Wednesday that the goal of the independent evaluation due by March is to ensure that any possible errors have been corrected.
The administrator of the Gulf Coast Claims Facility that controls the $20 billion BP compensation fund for victims said he has always welcomed an independent audit. Kenneth Feinberg says the facility will pay for it and will work with the DOJ and consulting firm.
"I long ago endorsed the idea of an independent audit," Feinberg told The Associated Press Wednesday night. "I am confident that it will confirm the overall success of the Gulf Coast claims fund."
He said more than 1 million claims have been processed and more than $6 billion paid out for harm done by the 2010 spill.
More than 200,000 people and businesses have gotten some money from the fund. Hundreds of thousands of others have been turned down.
The Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico off Louisiana on April 20, 2010, killing 11 men and leading to the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. The rig was owned by Transocean and was being leased by BP to drill the oil giant's well a mile beneath the sea.