From a release out of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s office this morning…
BATON ROUGE – Today, Governor Bobby Jindal joined coastal parish leaders and members of the fishing and oyster industries to announce $12 million in emergency restoration funding to help Louisiana’s coastline recover from the effects of the BP oil spill. This funding total includes $2 million to reestablish oyster beds in public seed grounds, $5 million for shoreline stabilization by engineered shoreline reefs, and $5 million to reestablish vegetation and sand fencing for approximately ten miles of oil-impacted shoreline.
The Governor stressed that the state has repeatedly requested emergency restoration funding from BP to reestablish oyster beds, plant vegetation killed by oil and stabilize eroding shorelines resulting from the spill – but BP has refused to provide upfront funding for these efforts.
Governor Jindal said, “We have met with BP on many occasions. Indeed, we have repeatedly requested emergency restoration funding from BP to reestablish oyster beds, plant vegetation killed by oil and stabilize eroding shorelines resulting from the spill. But, time and time again, BP has refused to front funding for these critical emergency restoration efforts. Today, yet again, we are here to tell BP that we need action, not talk. Just like during the response to the oil spill, when we were promised resources and assistance that always seemed to be too little, too late – today, we are again here to take our own action and not let more of our oystermen, fishermen, families, communities or businesses suffer as we wait for BP to act.
“That’s why we are announcing today that we are moving forward to immediately dedicate $12 million in funding toward emergency restoration actions to help our people and industries get back on their feet after this environmental catastrophe. We expect all $12 million to be replenished by BP as soon as they ‘make it right’ with our coastal communities by fully covering losses from this tragic spill. Today’s announcement is just the first step and much more work needs to be done by BP to ensure our coast is fully restored. I have no doubt that we will come back from the effects of this spill stronger than ever before. But, we cannot afford to wait. Our recovery demands action, and we are taking an important step toward restoring our coast today. We urge BP to follow our lead and replenish these funds as quickly as possible.”
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Robert Barham said, “For months we’ve spoken with BP about the need to invest in our recovery now, but they’ve continued to stall by only promising funds if the state will release everyone they’ve ever done business with from any kind of liability. That’s not the way to help Louisiana recover. It isn’t enough for them to spend millions of dollars on TV and radio commercials talking about doing the right thing, they must follow through. Working with the governor, we doing what BP should have done months ago; we are investing $2 million in oyster cultch now to help our Louisiana seafood industry get back to providing healthy, delicious oysters to consumers across the country. Rather than doing further damage by holding up negotiations, we want to see BP step forward and fulfill their promises to ‘make it right.’”
Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser said, “This investment in our coastal areas will go a long way in getting our coastline back to 100 percent. Even though BP and the federal government continue to drag their feet in processing claims, fighting the oil and restoring our way of life – I’m glad we have a state government that moves with a sense of urgency in providing our costal communities funding for revitalizing the coast and supporting our fishermen and oystermen.”
St. Bernard Parish President Craig P. Taffaro said, “We welcome the opportunity to partner with our state’s leadership in order to facilitate an ambitious intervention to slow the oil impacts from the BP disaster. St. Bernard Parish will continue to stand with our local and state partners at the forefront of this recovery to hold BP accountable until the cleaning and restoring of Louisiana’s coast is complete and the commercial fishing industry is protected.”
Jefferson Parish President John F. Young, Jr. said, “We expect BP to do the right thing, but we cannot wait any longer. We must take it upon ourselves to help our oyster industry, protect and restore our shoreline, and continue to work toward our overall recovery. We will take care of those who have lost the most, and we will hold BP accountable.”
Terrebonne Parish President Michel H Claudet said, “Generations upon generations of families have lived in our coastal areas and this oil spill put their futures in great danger. The effects of the oil spill are still being felt along our fragile coastal line. I urge our counterparts within the federal government to help our coastal communities rebound from this crisis. For all of our challenges, I applaud the Governor for moving dollars as quickly as possible and investing in our coastal areas so we can keep our communities thriving and vibrant.”
Lafourche Parish President Charlotte Randolph said, “The oil spill happened almost a year ago, and yet our fishermen and oil and gas workers are still feeling the impacts. Fortunately today, our governor is doing what BP should have done long ago: funding the restoration of our wetlands and coastal life. These dollars are investments in our communities, and we will continue to work with the Governor to press BP to make us right.”
Grand Isle Mayor David Camardelle said, “This commitment of funds by Governor Jindal will work to rebuild the habitat of our coastline and support area communities. Our coastal regions depend on what comes from these waters, so these will be well-spent funds as we all do our part in rebuilding our image and coastal economy.”
Jean Lafitte Mayor Tim Kerner said, “It’s no secret we haven’t received the help we need for what BP did to our coast. Between the oil spill, the moratorium and the new rules for drilling, it seems like we’ve been under attack from all angles. I’m glad the Governor worked with his coastal and legal folks to get some of the funding we’ll need to repair our wetlands and wildlife.”
Louisiana Oyster Task Force Chairman Mike Voisin said, “The immediate availability of these funds are a great step forward in helping the oyster community in Louisiana recover from the challenges of last year! We appreciate and applaud the Governor in stepping forward in utilizing these funds on an expedited basis to help with this much needed recovery effort. While we appreciate the Governors efforts, we continue to encourage BP to reimburse the State for these dollars spent and put forth additional dollars to further help in this oyster rehabilitation effort.”
Louisiana State Director National Wildlife Federation David P. Muth said, “The National Wildlife Federation supports efforts to jump start restoration initiatives that directly remediate damages from the BP oil spill. Projects that can begin in the near-term to stabilize damaged marsh shoreline along eroding bay edges, or protect islands where pelicans, roseate spoonbills and other water-birds nest, will help to offset the damage from the spill. We encourage the use of innovative natural techniques for shoreline protection, such as establishment of oyster reefs in the intertidal zone. Such techniques will prove more sustainable and cost effective than traditional methods, and should provide greatly enhanced ecosystem services. Long term monitoring and damage assessment are important tools for evaluating the effects of the spill and near-term remediation should not interfere with the process. But in areas where damage is acute and where valuable resources face imminent loss due to erosion, immediate protection and remediation may be warranted.”
The $2 million for oyster beds will come from funds in the Oyster Seed Ground Development Account. This is a Department of Wildlife and Fisheries account funded through compensation for impacts to public oyster seed grounds. This oyster seeding will include placing nearly 37,000 tons of cultch material to establish up to 200 acres of oyster beds on public seed grounds.
The $5 million for engineered shoreline reefs is from the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority’s Emergency Reserve Account. More than 317 miles of Louisiana’s coastline is still impacted by oil and this $5 million in funding will enable the state to take immediate action to construct shoreline reefs that will help restore and protect the state’s coast as it recovers from oil spill damage.
With this funding, up to three miles of engineered shoreline reefs and other protective measures will be placed along the coast to stabilize the effects of the oil spill. Engineered shoreline reefs are similar to oyster seeding, because they are shaped to allow oysters to form on them and reproduce. They also serve to break waves and improve water quality, as oysters clean the water around them.
The $5 million for reestablishing vegetation and shoreline restoration comes from the Coastal Impact Assistance Program (CIAP). Funding is currently sitting in this program for projects that are stalled with federal studies, and the state will free up $5 million from the fund to reestablish vegetation and sand fencing over approximately 30 miles of coastal shoreline where oil has killed coastal plants and root systems that hold Louisiana’s coast together.