WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Ranking Member Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) today criticized the Deepwater Horizon Unified Command for failing to properly inform small businesses of the claims process available to them in recovering from the devastating oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  On the Unified Command’s website, a small business owner searching for information under the “Small Business Claims” tab is directed to a page with links exclusively dealing with the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) disaster lending program – not the actual claims process that has been established in response to the Deepwater Horizon spill.

“I am absolutely outraged that after 66 days, the Administration has continued to demonstrate its incompetence regarding assistance to small businesses affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill,” said Senator Snowe.  “At a May 27th Small Business Committee hearing, I implored the federal government to establish ‘a one-stop-shop for businesses so that they aren’t receiving mixed messages.’  Indeed, U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Zukunft agreed with my assessment at that time.  Yet the information on the Unified Command’s website only links to information on disaster loans from the Small Business Administration, not the claims process, potentially leaving many small businesses with the mistaken impression that accumulating additional debt through SBA loans is their sole option.”

Senator Snowe continued, “ Simply put, a loan is not a claim, and this colossal oversight, more than just frustrating and inexcusable, may cost hundreds of small businesses in the region critical time, resources, and money in trying recoup their losses in the wake of the worst environmental tragedy in our nation’s history.”

The Unified Command’s ‘Small Business Claims’ tab may be viewed here: http://www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com/go/doctype/2931/54647/

The website containing the actual proper BP claims process for small businesses may be viewed here: http://www.bp.com/claims or at: http://www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com/go/doc/2931/588263/.