from a press release by Gov. Bobby Jindal’s office:
Governor Bobby Jindal held a press conference today to offer updates on the oil spill in the Gulf and continued to push BP and the U.S. Coast Guard to bring every resource they have to bear to protect Louisiana’s coast from the oil leak, which is depositing roughly 5,000 barrels of oil a day off of Louisiana’s coastline.
Governor Jindal said, “I spoke with the President today and urged him to deploy more resources to help prevent oil from reaching Louisiana’s coast and also to quickly respond when oil inevitably reaches our shores and threatens our wildlife and vast natural resources.
“Based on current projections, we expect the oil to reach land today at the Pass-A-Loutre Wildlife Management Area. By tomorrow, we expect oil to have reached the Chandeleur Islands and by Saturday, it is expected to reach the Breton Sound.
“These are important wildlife areas and these next few days are critical. That’s why we’ve been working hand and hand with local officials to assess their needs and have been pushing the Coast Guard and BP to uphold their commitment and responsibility to provide resources to the coastal areas that could be affected by this spill. We’re taking every step we can to help protect our coasts, wildlife, environment and our people.”
Governor Jindal declared a state of emergency today which positions the state to deploy state assets and engage the federal government. The federal government also declared today that this is a spill of national significance.
At this time, approximately 151,000 feet of oil containment booms have been deployed on the coast. Both Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes have asked that another 75 miles of boom be placed off of the shores of their parishes, a request which the Governor reiterated to both BP and the Coast Guard during his afternoon briefing with the state’s Unified Command Group.
Governor Jindal also offered an update for fishermen in coastal areas who wish to assist in the response efforts. BP is asking fishermen for their assistance in cleaning up the oil spill. BP is calling this the Vessel of Opportunities Program and through it, BP is looking to contract shrimp boats, oyster boats and other vessels for hire to deploy boom in the Gulf of Mexico. Fishermen should call 425-745-8017 about this program.
Governor Jindal said, “Now is the time when our hardworking fishermen, whose livelihoods are threatened by this spill are needed to help in the response to the effects on our coast. Louisiana’s fishermen know our coast like the back of their hands and I am confident they will be a key resource to the efforts to block oil from our shores.”
Yesterday, Governor Jindal also asked the Coast Guard and BP to establish hotlines for members of the public. These numbers have now been set up.
• To report oiled or injured wildlife, please call 1-866-557-1401.
• To discuss spill related damage claims, please call 1-800-440-0858.
• To report oil on land, or for general Community and Volunteer Information, please call 1-866-448-5816
These numbers and other critical updates are posted on the state’s emergency response web site, which is at emergency.louisiana.gov.
Governor Jindal also provided an overview of some state agency actions on Thursday as part of the state’s response.
LDWF biologists continue to monitor the impact to the coast and the possibility of some closures of recreational and commercial fisheries could come as early as today, but it is not likely until later in the week.
Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority officials will open the Caernarvon Diversion in Plaquemines Parish and the Davis Pond Diversion in St. Charles Parish to try to help prevent any oil from penetrating deep into coastal marshes.
The Caernarvon will flow at 8000 cubic feet per second and deliver water to marshes on the edge of Breton Sound on the east side of the Mississippi River. Davis Pond will flow at 4000 cubic feet per second and deliver water into the Barataria Basin on the western side of the Mississippi River.