LDWF Secretary Barham Requests that Interior Secretary Salazar Alleviate Agency Funding Woes, BP Fund Oil Spill Monitoring Program
BATON ROUGE (May 24, 2010) - Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Barham sent letters today to the US Department of the Interior and British Petroleum asking for funds to buoy his agency's budget and start an oil spill assessment program. Both letters are included below.
May 24, 2010 Mr. Ken Salazar
U. S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240
Dear Mr. Salazar:
Louisiana "The Sportsman Paradise" has suffered a crippling blow to sport fishing in the state with the release of crude oil into our coastal areas from the Deepwater Horizon Event. The state's resources and sport fishing community were just recovering from the devastations of Katrina/Rita in which experienced a dramatic decline in sport fish license sales after this unprecedented event. We fully expect to experience a similar decline as a result of this disaster. As you may be aware Louisiana coastal fishing accounts for 2.9 million man/days of recreation (#10 national ranking) and generates $49.9 million in state and local taxes and $45.6 million in Federal Tax revenues (#8). (2006 USFWS Survey) The management of our coastal fisheries has long been funded by the annual apportionments we receive from the Sport Fish Restoration Program, a user pay/user benefit program. Now we have to deal with the long term impacts of this massive oil spill and the potential loss of revenue and fishing opportunity as a result of this disaster. Since the impacts of this event will continue for some time we are requesting you work with us in the following manner to help alleviate funding shortfalls: Sport fish restoration funding (Louisiana) for the next two years (2010/2011 and 2011/2012) be apportioned at the annual rate equal to the average of the last three years funding. At the end of that two (2) year period a reevaluation of the situation will be conducted and a determination as to whether additional years of averaging are warranted. We look forward to working with you and your staff on this incident and the long road of recovery for Louisiana. Sincerely, Robert J. Barham
May 24, 2010 Dr. David I. Rainey
Vice President, Gulf of Mexico Exploration
BP America, Inc.
Post Office Box 3092
Houston, TX 77253-3092
As you know, the effects associated with the oil-spill in the Gulf of Mexico on Louisiana's fisheries are still unknown. The fishing industry in Louisiana is not only the livelihood for many of our residents, but also a way of life and a culture that is passed down from generation to generation. Louisiana is and we plan to remain the Sportsman's Paradise.
In order to fulfill the department's core mission of managing and protecting Louisiana's fisheries, we must enact a fishery resource monitoring program designed to provide the information needed to manage the fishery resources of the state as a result of the oil spill. Our estimates indicate the implementation of this program will total $30 million. For a detailed assessment of LDWF's five year program please see enclosed document.
The execution of this plan requires immediate action on the part of British Petroleum to fund these efforts. We expect that the state and people of Louisiana will not be let down.
I look forward to your prompt response.
Robert J. Barham
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries