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PRESS RELEASE

Governor Jindal Requests SBA Issue Economic Injury Disaster Declaration for Additional Parishes

BATON ROUGE (May 6, 2010) - Today, Governor Bobby Jindal sent the following letter to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) requesting that the SBA issue an economic injury disaster declaration for 13 additional parishes. The Governor is requesting that Ascension, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Evangeline, Livingston, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, Washington, Iberia and St. Martin parishes should qualify as primary parishes.

Earlier today, the Small Business Administration announced their approval of the state’s initial request to issue an economic injury disaster declaration for Jefferson, Lafourche, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard and St. Tammany parishes. This declaration makes Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) available to small businesses that have been impacted by the oil spill.

Full Letter Below:
May 6, 2010

The Honorable Karen G. Mills
Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration
409 3rd Street, SW
Washington, DC  20416

Dear Administrator Mills:

After further review of information regarding impacts on small businesses, the State of Louisiana requests additional SBA Economic Injury Disaster Declarations as a result of a catastrophic explosion that occurred April 20, 2010, causing an oil spill from an offshore drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico.  The oil spill entered state territorial waters on Friday, April 30 and continues to threaten landfall.  The resulting oil leak is currently releasing thousands of barrels of oil per day into the Gulf and will continue to do so until successfully controlled, which may take many weeks.  This oil spill has the potential to become the worst oil spill in history, surpassing the Exxon Valdez oil spill that occurred in 1989.  The current oil spill is threatening hundreds of species of fish, birds and other wildlife along the Gulf Coast, one of the world's richest habitats for shrimp, oysters, crab and other marine life. 

Federal and state officials began to close fishing areas and oyster harvesting beds in response to the oil spill on April 30. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has ordered the closure of all fishing grounds from the mouth of the Mississippi River east into Florida.  The closure of these vital fisheries will have a devastating impact to the economy of southern Louisiana.  As a result, the SBA has already issued an Economic Injury Disaster Declaration for the primary parishes of Jefferson, Lafourche, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard and St. Tammany, as well as neighboring parishes of Assumption, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne and Washington.

After reviewing data on commercial fishing vessel licenses in parishes across the state, we have determined that there are a number of additional parishes where commercial fisherman take a significant number of trips in areas east of the Mississippi River that have been closed as a result of this oil spill.  As a result, I hereby certify in accordance with the Code of Federal Regulations 13, Chapter 1, Part 123.3 that at least five (5) small businesses within the parishes of Ascension, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Evangeline, Livingston, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, and Washington have suffered substantial economic injury as a direct result of the oil spill and should qualify as primary parishes for Economic Injury Disaster Declaration.  Furthermore, the impending closure of additional fishing areas west of the Mississippi River will cause substantial economic injury as a direct result of the oil spill to the parishes of Iberia and St. Martin, which should therefore also qualify as primary parishes for Economic Injury Disaster Declaration.

I further certify that the degree of economic injury suffered is so severe that financial assistance at reasonable rates and terms is not otherwise available.  I request that the SBA declare an Economic Injury Disaster Declaration that entitles local business owners to apply for federally subsidized loans. 

Sincerely,

Bobby Jindal
Governor

Cc: Mr. Alfred E. Judd, Director
Field Operations Center - West

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