New agency set up to handle oil disaster claims opens

(NBC) - Independent Administrator Ken Feinberg officially took control of the claims process for those affected by the oil spill in the gulf on Monday. He will be in charge of the $20 billion fund provided by BP to pay those claims.

In earlier town hall meetings, Feinberg has promised more money, more quickly for business owners who have been struggling for along the Gulf Coast. In Orange Beach, AL, that's just about everybody.

"The majority of all of our businesses are at risk of going under," Mayor Tony Kennon said.

Meanwhile, crews continue work a mile under the surface on the floor of the gulf, trying to locate and remove pieces of the fractured drill pipe from the well.

"Our desire would be to remove those pipes before we proceed with the blow out preventer removal," National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen said Monday.

That process could begin as early as Thursday.

As hearings searching for the cause of the explosion and collapse of the Deepwater Horizon rig continue in Houston, teams at the spill site understand they may be removing more than debris.

It's also evidence.

"There will be a custody team that will take custody of all materials when they are removed and they'll given direction by the joint investigation team and the Department of Justice," Allen said.

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