Louisiana Still Has No Answer on Oyster Restoration from BP


Oyster business owners have made their way to Washington to lobby for BP to pay $15 million to help Louisiana rebuild the oyster habitats that were ruined during the BP oil spill. Even though most of the oyster beds were ruined by the flow of freshwater into the wetlands that were an attempt to clear out the oil there, the seafood industry and many politicians feel this is part of BP’s responsibility to help bring this important industry back. Louisiana is responsible for 40 percent of the United States’ oyster supply, and Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu sent the company a letter in November 2010 asking for the funds, and giving it a deadline of Feb. 22, but so far BP has yet to respond. Without these much-needed funds to repopulate the Gulf of Mexico with new oyster spawn, the industry is doomed as both reproductive cycles for the oysters were compromised because of the oil.

So while BP is out there projecting this wonderful image of itself with all of the millions of dollars it has spent on commercials telling people how it has again and again helped out all of the people of Louisiana, Alabama and the Gulf Coast, it is really just trying to get out of its obligation to this area. I’m sure that you’ve seen one of the many commercials or ads that have been running all over the place. BP, even though it has already had to pay out money to many companies that have lost income from the oil crisis, still had $50 million to launch this ad campaign to get its image back. So, if anybody doubted the financial stability of this company, and whether or not it could pay the $15 million to help out the oyster industry, think again.

Ads are still being run and are not only being seen in Louisiana and Alabama, but these ads have been running in states as far as New York. BP needs to get its priorities straight and realize the American people are not as stupid as they may seem. An ad campaign is not going to make them want to do business with you again, but action in the form of cleaning up the Gulf Coast will. The pledge that you continue to make over and over again to the people of America about how you’re going to clean up The Gulf needs to begin.

The government needs to hold this company to its promises that it would make this right, and that includes bringing back an industry that is vital to the people of Louisiana for jobs, as well as vital to the tourism and food industry, and to the cultural of this great area.

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
Cooper Law Firm

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