Rep. Melancon to Meet with Local Officials in Terrebonne, Tour Marsh by Boat

June 2, 2010

Melancon Will Also Meet with Admiral Allen & EPA Administrator Jackson at Cocodrie Response Staging Area

WASHINGTON D.C. – This afternoon, U.S. Congressman Charlie Melancon (LA-03) will travel to Houma, La., and meet with Terrebonne Parish President Michele Claudet and local homeland security officials to discuss their BP oil response needs.

Congressman Melancon will then travel to Cocodrie and tour the Response Staging Area with National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen and Administrator Lisa Jackson, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Following the meeting, Congressman Melancon will tour the marsh along the Terrebonne and Lafourche Parish coastlines by sheriff’s office boat to survey oil protection efforts.

Congressman Melancon has been leading efforts in Louisiana to coordinate the private, federal, state, and local response to the oil leak caused by the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil platform one month ago. He represents in Congress the areas of coastal Louisiana most directly affected by the oil leak, including Plaquemines, St. Bernard, Terrebonne, Lafourche and southern Jefferson Parishes. The Deepwater Horizon platform was located 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana’s Third Congressional District.

Congressman Melancon has been working closely with parish and federal officials to monitor response efforts and provide assistance where needed. Last weekend, he toured by boat with Jean Lafitte Mayor Tim Kerner the marsh along Jefferson, Lafourche, and Plaquemines Parishes. He also met with Plaquemines Parish Sheriff Jiff Hingle and visited Buras talk to workers involved in the oil leak containment and cleanup operations.
He has also toured the coast along Terrebonne, Lafourche, Jefferson, and Plaquemines Parishes by helicopter with U.S. Coast Guard Captain Edwin Stanton, the Federal Coordinating Officer for the disaster, and a representative from BP. They surveyed the impact of the oil leak from the Deepwater Horizon disaster on the coastline west of the Mississippi River.

Congressman Melancon has toured by boat the coastal marshes in St. Bernard Parish with parish officials and viewed the efforts of local fishermen to deploy boom. He has also met with Terrebonne and Lafourche Parish officials and been briefed on their plans for boom deployment and other protective measures to prevent the oil sheen from damaging their coastal marshes. Over one million feet of protective boom have been deployed to protect Louisiana’s fragile coastal marshes from the oil slick.

In his conversations with local fishermen and parish officials involved in laying the boom, Congressman Melancon learned they face a severe shortage in boom material, hindering their ability to protect the coast. In response, Congressman Melancon sent a letter to President Barack Obama requesting military aircraft be used to help bring protective boom to the Gulf Coast more quickly. The President granted his request and within a few days of receiving Congressman Melancon’s letter, the first Air Force aircraft arrived in Belle Chasse with additional boom.

Congressman Melancon held a town hall in Houma to listen to constituent concerns about the oil leak disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and provide information about the response efforts. Congressman Melancon invited representatives from the Coast Guard, BP, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Small Business Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and officials from Terrebonne, Lafourche and St. Mary Parishes to take part in the town hall to help answer questions and listen to concerns.

Earlier this month, Congressman Melancon organized a town hall in Chalmette to share information with constituents about the oil disaster response efforts. Representatives from the Coast Guard, BP, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Louisiana State University, Louisiana’s seafood industry, and St. Bernard Parish officials answered questions and listened to concerns.

Congressman Melancon has also worked to bring federal attention to the health needs of Louisianians impacted by the oil leak in the Gulf. Yesterday, Congressman Melancon toured the newly opened mobile health care clinic in Venice, La., and met with the staff and patients. The mobile clinic, which Congressman Melancon first requested May 19th , will treat and screen workers and residents affected by the BP oil leak in the Gulf. In his meeting last week with President Obama, Congressman Melancon again repeated this request. Later that day, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius confirmed there would be a federal commitment of health care services for south Louisiana.

Congressman Melancon has asked the federal government for assistance in establishing temporary mental health services to help residents cope with the BP oil disaster in the Gulf. Congressman Melancon has hosted two recent town hall meetings in south Louisiana where he has heard from residents who are starting to display symptoms of depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

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