DHH, LDWF, DEQ Secretaries and Agriculture Commissioner Request Federal Government Force BP America to Approve Louisiana’s Seafood Safety Plan

June 16, 2010

In address to nation last night, President Obama promised business, communities would be made whole

BATON ROUGE (June 16, 2010) – In a letter to federal officials Wednesday, Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Alan Levine, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Robert Barham, Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Peggy Hatch and Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain requested that the federal government force BP to approve Louisiana’s seafood safety plan.

The full text of the letter is below:


June 16, 2010

Admiral Thad Allen
Coast Guard Headquarters
Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard
2100 Second Street, SW Stop 7101
Washington, DC 20593

Secretary Ken Salazar
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20240

Secretary Ray Mabus

United States Department of the Navy
2000 Navy Pentagon
Room 4C
Washington, DC 20350

Administrator Margaret Hamburg
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
10903 New Hampshire Ave.
Silver Spring, MD 20993

Administrator Jane Lubchenco
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
1401 Constitution Avenue, NW
Room 5128
Washington, DC 20230

Dear Admiral Allen, Secretaries Salazar and Mabus, and Administrators Hamburg and Lubchenco:

Now in day 57, oil continues to flow in Louisiana’s coastal and marshland habitats, impacting our wildlife, our industry and our livelihood.

In his address to the nation last night, President Obama stated emphatically that, in his meeting today with BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg, he would request Mr. Svanberg to “set aside whatever resources are required to compensate the workers and business owners who have been harmed … ” Further, the President stated that “in order to ensure that all legitimate claims are paid out in a fair and timely manner, the account must and will be administered by an independent third party” and “beyond compensating the people of the Gulf in the short term, it’s also clear we need a long-term plan to restore the unique beauty and bounty of this region.”

The President has promised to ensure our businesses and communities are made whole. On May 29, 2010, we submitted a plan to BP, and shared copies with appropriate federal agencies, that would ensure the long-term viability of Louisiana’s $4 billion commercial and recreational seafood industry through the creation of a rigorous sampling, scientific testing and evaluation program of many species of Louisiana seafood. The plan would allow Louisiana fisherman to certify and pledge the safety and quality of their product to consumers nationwide.

Today, we strongly urge President Obama’s Administration to request BP to swiftly approve Louisiana’s Seafood Safety Response and Quality Certification Plan and finance it from the fund President Obama has requested BP to create. This plan is critical to Louisiana, and the nation as whole, to ensure our fishermen have a future and a market to sell their high quality products.

We have enclosed a copy of the plan, and are prepared to answer any questions. We are eager to implement it, and would be grateful for your urgent assistance.

Sincerely,

Alan Levine
Secretary, Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals

Robert Barham
Secretary, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

Peggy Hatch
Secretary, Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality

Michael Strain
Commissioner, Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry

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