updated 5/10/2010 2:00:36 PM ET 2010-05-10T18:00:36

BP's top lobbyist says the company does not view a $75 million federal cap on economic damages for oil spills as a limit to its obligations to people along the Gulf Coast.

David Nagel, head of the company's Washington office, said BP has so far paid $3.5 million in damage claims beyond cleanup costs. He said the company has received 4,700 claims so far and paid on 295 of them.

A federal law caps liability to $75 million for economic damages beyond direct cleanup costs. Nagel, speaking to reporters ahead of Senate hearings Tuesday, said the limit is not "an effective cap in terms of what we're spending." But he declined to say whether BP would lobby against efforts to increase the cap to $10 billion.

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