Louisiana environmentalists say BP has gone back on promises to restore oyster beds

Alejandro de los Rios Feb. 22, 2011, 3:26am

Louisiana environmental authorities claimed on Monday that BP has gone back on promises to help restore wetlands and fisheries that were damaged by the BP oil spill.

Garret Graves, chairman of the Coast Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), and Robert Barham, director of the Department of Wildlife & Fisheries (DWF), said that BP is saying it is unsure about whether it was oil that killed thousands of oyster beds in Louisiana's wetlands.

When the Deepwater Horizon oilrig exploded and caused a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana officials opened freshwater diversions from the Mississippi river to protect the marshes.

Barham said that his department has also not heard from BP about lost revenues from commercial and personal fishing license fees, which primarily fund the DWF.

"All we've asked is for them to do what they said they would do in their commercials, be here for the long haul and make it right," Barham told NOLA.com on Monday. "Their response today was that we see no evidence of oil injuring the oysters."

Last week, Louisiana's congressional delegation asked BP for $15 million to restore oyster beds and fisheries. State officials have now said they will try to come up with the money on their own and bill BP later.

More News