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Jeff Atwater

As Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, I am committed to ensuring that every citizen and every business negatively affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill are made whole. While the stories have dropped from the headlines, I am well aware that real struggles continue, and I am determined to ensure every legitimate claim gets paid and every community is restored.

Even for those of you who have accepted final payment from the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF), I know that does not mean your challenges are over. Many Floridians are facing economic challenges today, that's why I launched Your Money Matter$, a financial education initiative that aims to teach Floridians of all ages how to make the most out of their money, and for small businesses how to strengthen and grow their enterprises.

My Department has been involved from the beginning and understands that oil spill victims are not asking for a handout, only what they are due. When that happens, only then can we declare an end to the oil spill.

Press Releases

January 10, 2012 – Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater’s Letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder inquiring as to when the U.S. Department of Justice plans to commence its audit of the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF).

January 20, 2011 – Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater’s Letter to BP Claims Administrator Kenneth Feinberg on formally requesting that a representative of the Florida Department of Financial Services participate in the methodology created to determine claims payments.

May 13, 2010 – Summary of the Federal Administration's Proposed Oil Spill Legislation.

In the News

Fraud pollutes BP oil-spill compensation fund for Gulf Coast victims from Florida to Louisiana - Miami Herald 8-19-12

Florida counties plan for BP oil spill fines - CBS News 8-17-12


Resources

Environmental Health and Safety

For more information on Florida’s Deepwater Horizon response, as well as health and safety tips, please visit the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Deepwater Horizon Response website at www.dep.state.fl.us.

RestoretheGulf.gov is the official federal portal for the Deepwater Horizon Oil spill response and recovery. This site provides the public with information on the response, current operations, news and updates, how to file a claim and obtain other assistance, and links to federal, state and local partners. For more information visit www.restorethegulf.gov/.

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is the state’s lead agency for food safety. For nearly a year, the agency’s sophisticated food safety lab has been testing samples of Florida Gulf seafood for possible contamination. All findings are well below the FDA’s levels of concern. For more information, visit www.myfloridagulfsafe.com.

BP's Florida Response Website provides the latest news on the Gulf environment, economic conditions, BP activities to support restoration and related news about the impact of the oil spill. www.floridagulfresponse.com.

For information on air quality, water samples, sediment, dispersants, and waste disposal, visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's BP Oil Spill Response page.

For general health/exposures questions related to the oil spill, contact the Florida Poison Information Center at 1-800-222-1222.

Oil Pollution Act of 1990
Under the U. S. Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA), the federal government and impacted state governments act as “trustees” charged with recovering environmental damages due to oil pollution from the responsible parties in order to restore injuries to the public’s natural resources. The Trustees, including the State of Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection and Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, recently released an Early Restoration Plan that contains procedures for awarding grants to pay government agencies for the cost of approved restoration projects. Under Phase I, the Trustees have identified eight projects in four states, including two in Florida, which will receive a total of $57 million. The $57 million is part of $1 billion in payments agreed to by BP and the Trustees as part of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) process under OPA. Eventually, each of the affected states will receive $100 million for the early restoration phase. This money is only a down payment on the eventual cost to BP for natural resources damages. For more information on the NRDA early restoration plan and environmental assessment, go to http://www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov/.

Personal and Small Business
Assistance

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Federal Disaster Assistance Loans

SBA Customer Service Line For Businesses: Call 1-800-659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov

Florida Department of Financial Services Small Business Assistance and Business Owner Insurance Coverage Hotline

Call (850) 413-3089, (877) MY-FL-CFO, (877) 693-5236, TDD: (850) 410-9700

Information on the types of claims from the U.S. Coast Guard's National Pollution Funds Center

Visit their Oil Spill Claims website for information on who can submit a claim under the Oil Pollution Act.

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Guidance on Gulf Oil Spill

If you experience filing or payment hardships due to the oil spill, contact the IRS at 1-866-562-5227.
Information and help for individuals and businesses from the IRS, view their publication The Gulf Oil Spill and Your Taxes.
Review the IRS's Oil Spill Questions and Answers for more Information for taxpayers related to the oil spill.

Small Business Development Centers

A network of Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) in Florida is referred to as the Florida Small Business Development Center Network (FSBDCN). The FSBDCN program is administered by the State Office in Pensacola. SBDCs are hosted primarily by universities and colleges located throughout Florida. Each SBDC provides counseling and business expertise in their area to small business owners or those who want to start a business in Florida. The FSBDCN is a non-profit organization funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration and hosted by the University of West Florida. The Center at the University of West Florida in Pensacola has assisted hundreds of businesses with filing the necessary claim documentation and justification for their GCCF oil spill claims.

University of West Florida
Office of Economic Development & Engagement
Small Business Development Center
401 E. Chase St., Suite 100
Pensacola, FL 32502-5750
Telephone: (850) 595-0063
Larry Strain, Executive Director

The North Florida Center for Equal Justice

The North Florida Center for Equal Justice (NFCFEJ) and Legal Services of North Florida, Inc. were awarded funding through the Mississippi Center for Justice to assist Florida claimants with BP oil spill claims. In a joint effort, NFCFEJ and Legal Services of North Florida, Inc. work in some capacity with all Florida claimants needing assistance. The funding was made available through GCCF to Mississippi Center for Justice for each of the five affected coastal states. The free legal services program will not provide assistance for lawsuits filed against BP or claims filed with the Coast Guard National Pollution Funds Center.

2121 Delta Blvd.
Tallahassee, Florida 32303
Telephone: (850) 701-3980
Fax: (850) 701-3985
Web site: www.nfcfej.org

Florida Legal Services, Inc.

Offices in Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Lake Worth, and Miami

www.FloridaLegal.org

Been a victim of fraud related to the oil spill?

Call the National Center for Disaster Fraud at (866) 720-5721, email disaster@leo.gov , or fax (225) 334-4707.

Concerned about legal solicitations and representation?

Advisory from the Florida Bar