Louisiana's eight congressional members wrote and signed a letter to BP America president Lamar McKay asking that the oil company immediately pay $15 million to help restore the state's oyster beds.

The letter claims that the state sent a letter to BP in November 2010 asking for the funds to restore the oysters killed when they were exposed to oil resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion and resulting spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The letter was sent Feb. 8 and was signed by Senators Mary Landrieu (D) and David Vitter (R) and Representatives Rodney Alexander (R), Charles Boustany Jr. (R), Steve Scalies (R), Bill Cassidy (R), Jeff Landry (R) and Cedric Richmond (D).

"Louisiana is home to more than 1.6 million acres of public and 400,000 acres of private oyster fishing grounds that traditionally supply about 40% of the domestic product to United States consumers," the letter says.

Citing concerned workers in the oyster industry and the Louisiana Oyster Task Forces' recent "unprecedented act" of closing harvest grounds east the of the Mississippi River, the letter says "timing will be critical."

"The habitat resource needs to be in place before the spring spawning season that begins in April," the letter says.

The Louisiana delegation is asking that BP respond no latter than Feb. 22.

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