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Thursday, 29 July 2010 15:06
Louisiana Jindal, Allen, Zukunft, Parish Leaders Meet Over BP Oil Spill
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NEW ORLEANS – Today, Governor Bobby Jindal joined coastal parish presidents to meet with Retired Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, Admiral Paul Zukunft and BP COO Doug Suttles to discuss oil spill response efforts going forward. Following the meeting, the Governor held a media availability with the coastal parish presidents.

Governor Jindal said, “We had a good meeting with the Coast Guard and BP. The meeting was contentious at times, but it was productive. We think it’s critical to have these types of meetings more frequently. Decisions on response efforts should not be made from the top down by the Coast Guard and BP. It’s important for our coastal leaders to be part of all decisions that impact our coast. The Coast Guard estimates there are still millions of gallons of oil in the water that threaten our coastline. This is a marathon for our state and it’s not done for us until our coast and wetlands are fully restored so our people can get back to their way of life.

“We talked to the Coast Guard and BP about our experience with the response to Tropical Depression Bonnie and the Coast Guard’s movement of resources. We agree that there should be different response plans based on the storms. For minor storms, equipment for oil spill response efforts should be kept within parishes and close to the water. The Coast Guard agreed with this request.

“We also spoke about the next steps for the response effort after the relief well is in place and what that means for the shifting of resources. We agreed that rather than responding to and rejecting a plan presented to the state and parishes that it would be better for each parish to come up with their own plan. This is the same type of approach we took at the beginning of this crisis. Indeed, we worked with coastal leaders to create response plans because the plans from the Coast Guard and BP lacked detail. Parish Presidents know their areas better than anyone and it doesn’t make sense for us to accept or reject a one-size-fits-all plan on how resources will be shifted. For instance, it’s important that sub-surface oil be included as a trigger to decide how resources are moved. We will work with coastal leaders to develop their new plans and they will be submitted on Tuesday of next week to BP and the Coast Guard.

“This was also an opportunity to express our concerns about mental health funding for the workers and their families that have been devastated by this spill. To date, BP has not yet agreed to any mental health funding. BP did say they would be working with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, or SAMSA, on requests from the state and that they would have an announcement sometime next week.

(Gov. Jindal Press Release)

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