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Justice department tells Feinberg, the oil claims czar, to 'speed up this process'

The associate U.S. Attorney General has written a stern letter to BP claims czar Kenneth Feinberg saying the present pace of claims is "unacceptable" and directing his office to make whatever changes necessary to move things along.

The criticism of the Gulf Coast Claims Facility is notable because it comes from within the Obama administration, which hand-picked Feinberg for the job. And it follows displeasure from Florida officials, including Gov. Charlie Crist and CFO Alex Sink.

"Your recent public statements have acknowledged that the process is more complicated and time-intensive than you had anticipated," associate AG Thomas Perrelli wrote. "I would reiterate to you, however, that the efficiency of the GCCF's review and payment process is not just a matter of fulfilling your own performance goals. The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill has disrupted the lives of thousands upon thousands of individuals, often cutting off the income on which they depend. Many of these individuals and businesses simply do not have the resources to get by while they await processing by the GCCF."

-- Alex Leary