By Vicki Needham - 06/15/10 10:35 PM EDT
Alaska Sen. Mark Begich (D) is introducing legislation requiring companies involved in oil spills to set up an escrow account so individuals and businesses requesting the funds won't have to wait 20 years, like many did after the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster, while court cases dragged out.
Begich hasn't put a number on his request but said it should cover the cost of the spill.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) also has introduced legislation that would help speed along the claims process so people don't have to wait to get paid.
Cost estimates of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico have ranged wildly but conservative estimates indicate the spill could cost at least $15 billion. So far, BP has spent just over $1.6 billion and paid out $63 million in claims to Gulf businesses.