BP: $16M More OK'd for Gulf Coast Businesses

BP says it has approved giving some money to businesses along the Gulf Coast that have been hurt by the oil spill.

Special Section: Disaster in the Gulf

BP said Tuesday it approved 337 checks for a total amount of $16 million to businesses that have filed damage claims in excess of $5,000.

BP has come under criticism by business owners and residents along the Gulf for not efficiently processing relief claims.

Earlier Tuesday, presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs said the Obama administration is ready to take over the handling of oil spill damage claims from BP if the company doesn't set up an "independent entity" to do it.

"The best way to prevail on BP is to take the claims process away from BP," Gibbs said on CBS' "The Early Show."

"The president possesses the legal authority and will use it to make this claims process independent, to take it away from BP, and to ensure that those who have been harmed economically have their claims processed quickly, efficiently, transparently, and that they're made whole again for the disaster caused by BP," Gibbs said.

To date, BP said it has opened 25 claims offices and issued about 25,000 checks totaling $63 million.

Gibbs appeared on "The Early Show" in advance of President Obama's Oval Office address on the Gulf oil spill.

(Note: President Obama's address to the nation can be watched Tuesday night at 8 p.m. Eastern on CBS Television and online at CBSNews.com.)

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