Five states and leaders of several federal agencies have unanimously approved a blueprint to repair the Gulf of Mexico with BP fines pending over the 2010 oil spill. Governor Bobby Jindal’s comments in New Orleans about BP and his support for Mississippi River diversions drew immediate criticism.
Governor Jindal opened the meeting of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council with shot at BP.
“BP has to stop spending hundreds of millions of dollars on their public relations campaign telling us how great they are and start proving it by addressing the Clean Water Act and Natural Resources Damage (Assessment) liabilities today," Jindal said. "Their responsibilities are not going away.”
The council includes governors of all five Gulf states affected by the spill, and several White House cabinet members. It’s designed to use BP fines to fund restoration and economic projects.
BP issued a statement a few hours later saying it has spent $26 billion so far on response, cleanup and claims.
Jindal also repeated his support of diverting Mississippi River sediment to rebuild the shrinking wetlands. But George Ricks of the Save Louisiana Coalition says that fresh water would decimate oysters and fisheries.
“Look more into dredging and long-distance sediment pipeline projects as opposed to the easy way out with these diversions,” Ricks said.
Eighty-percent of BP fines — the amounts of which are still undetermined — will stay in the Gulf Coast.
Several speakers called on the council to include more public outreach to affected communities, especially those with minority residents.
Others requested a science coordinator to make sure the projects can work well together.