By Jay Heflin - 07/09/10 01:29 PM EDT
"I have received numerous complaints from fishermen, hoteliers and small-business owners detailing the bureaucracy hindering the speed and ease with which these claims should be paid out," the letter states. "Floridians have also told me that once these compensation checks do arrive, they're not enough to cover even basic business costs."
LeMieux noted that many Gulf residents make the majority of their annual earnings between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Smaller compensation payments from BP during this time period do not fit with the budgets businesses laid out before the spill.
"You have mentioned the possibility of moving to a larger payment sum structure over longer intervals," LeMieux wrote. "I am interested in seeing more details on this proposal."
Payments so far to businesses affected by the spill are approximately $150 million. Nearly 100,000 damages claims have been filed, of which about half have been processed without a single denial.
LeMieux stresses that more needs to be done to ensure that businesses stay open.
"Every day that goes by without a payment is a day another family comes closer to losing their job, their business, their home and their way of life," he wrote.