Gov. Bobby Jindal announced this morning that the state has come to an agreement with BP on its funding requests for both seafood testing and additional compensation for tourism industry losses. Gov. Bobby Jindal announced this morning that the state has come to an agreement with BP on its funding requests for both seafood testing and additional compensation for tourism industry losses. Specifically, the agreement includes $48 million for seafood safety and testing efforts, $140 million for the ongoing sand berm and barrier island restoration work, and $30 million for tourism.
The $48 million seafood safety funding will be used to fund Gulf seafood tests and marketing. Specifically, BP agreed to $18 million over three years - $6 million a year - for seafood testing of oil and chemical dispersants. The agreement states that the funding and three-year commitment would be reset upon any oiling that would trigger the closure of fishing areas. BP also agreed to pony up $30 million over three years - $10 million a year - to the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation for the marketing of Gulf seafood. BP has also already agreed to fund a three-year $13 million fishery-resource monitoring plan with LDWF. Gov. Jindal added that BP has also agreed to fund fish hatchery projects in Louisiana, with a focus on supporting marine life affected by the spill, and oyster seeding to support the recovering oyster industry, but those agreements have not been finalized. Previously LDWF Secretary Robert Barham had requested $30 million from BP for fishery resource monitoring, and additional compensation for losses to funds generated through excise taxes on fishing and motorboat supplies.
The state also reached an agreement with BP on compensating the tourism industry. BP agreed to pay another $30 million - on top of the $15 million it has already doled out - which will go through the lieutenant governor's office of Culture, Recreation and Tourism. BP will pay $10 million a year over the next three years to help support Louisiana marketing efforts. The agreement stipulates that $10.5 million will go toward a statewide marketing campaign (including nature based tourism), $6 million toward a coastal tourism response, $6 million toward a greater New Orleans response, and $7.5 million for tourism events. Previously, Lt. Gov. Scott Angelle had requested an additional $75 million from BP to compensate the ailing tourism industry.
The agreement also included BP's ongoing commitment to help fund a $360 million sand berm project. It states there is $140 million in remaining funding for the project. The state plans to commit up to $100 million of the remaining sand berm funding to convert the sand berms into Louisiana's historic barrier islands that have eroded. The other $40 million in remaining berm funds will be dedicated to berm construction, stabilization, environmental support and other compliance costs associated with the berm work.