Governor Jindal: Glad President Came to LA; BP Has Sent Us Press Releases and Lawyers But Still No Money for Sand Booming Work
NEW ORLEANS (June 4, 2010) - Governor Bobby Jindal released the following statement today regarding his meeting with President Obama and elected officials in New Orleans, concerning the response efforts to the ongoing BP oil spill:
“I am glad the president came today. Every time he comes to Louisiana the pace of the response efforts quickens and things get done. Shortly before his first visit during this spill, Admiral Allen was named as Incident Commander. Before his visit last week, the Coast Guard called for BP to pay for one of the segments in our sand boom plan and before his visit this week, the Coast Guard called on BP to pay for the construction of all six segments approved by the Corps – although BP still hasn’t given the state a dime to pay for the work.
“Just as we said yesterday, we told the President we are moving ahead without BP. We already signed contracts to begin this work with Shaw and Bean Dredging. We put in a request to the Army Corps of Engineers this morning to release their available dredges and they have indentified four dredges – including one located close to the site that is most likely to be available – the MV CALIFORNIA. I met with the CEO of Shaw today and they said that if the US Army Corps of Engineers will allow them to borrow sand closer to the dredging sites, which we will replace, we could see sand by Monday.
“We are moving forward with or without BP. We gave them two choices – they can either send us a check, get out of the way and let us start this work, or they can sign a contract and do it themselves. We are going ahead without them. Last night, we met with Admiral Allen and he said he feels like he is making progress in getting BP to actually pay for this work. To date, BP has done a great job in sending us press releases and attorneys, but they haven’t sent us any money to dredge.”
Governor Jindal also stressed the need to ensure BP is paying claims to Louisiana residents in a timely and responsible fashion. The Governor said, “The Department of Social Services and the Workforce Commission have made repeated requests to review BP’s claims process and data, but BP still has not shared their full claims data for individuals and businesses. We are concerned about reports from citizens and parish officials that many people have not been paid by BP. According to information from BP, more than half of the claims for lost income have not even been processed and less than 25 percent of business interruption claims have been paid. In fact, the Attorney General’s Office filed a petition for discovery and investigation in state court today to order BP to produce information that the state needs to monitor their claims processes.
“Our people deserve to be fully compensated for their losses. Instead of BP shelling out $50 million on an ad campaign that promises to do good work in responding to this spill, BP should just focus on actually doing a good job and spend the $50 million on assistance to our people, our industries and our communities that are suffering as a result of this ongoing spill.”
While meeting with the President today, Governor Jindal also stressed his serious concerns about the President’s recent suspension of deepwater drilling activity. Governor Jindal said, “I shared my concerns about the President’s six-month suspension of activity at 33 permitted deepwater drilling rigs, including 22 deepwater drilling rigs off Louisiana’s coast. Our Department of Economic Development estimates that the active drilling suspension alone will result in a loss of 3,000 to 6,000 Louisiana jobs in the next two to three weeks and potentially over 10,000 Louisiana jobs within a few months. We risk losing more than 20,000 existing and potential new Louisiana jobs over 12 to 18 months, if this federal panel takes longer than six months to do their reviews and write their reports.
“We absolutely want drilling to be done safely, but it shouldn’t take months of federal government committees and meetings. We need effective oversight of this industry. The federal government needs to do their job quickly so that thousands of Louisianians don’t lose their jobs.”
During the meeting with the President, the Governor also stressed the importance of the Coast Guard approving the use of rocks and barges to block oil from entering into the Barataria Bay. This proposal will protect Grand Isle, Lafitte, and hundreds of thousands of acres of prime fishing grounds in Jefferson and Plaquemines Parishes from oil pollution. The Governor said, “Mayor Carmardelle has been working on the development of a plan to close the passes to the east and west of Grand Isle. This plan will use rocks and barges to narrow the passes and establish active sorbent and vacuum operations from barges closing the remaining gaps. The barges would be anchored down and then chained together to provide for a contiguous barrier across the passes to prevent more oil from getting into Barataria Bay, and facilitate the removal of oil.”