Photo: Alex Ogle / AFP / Getty Images
Jindal held his press conference in New Orlean's Acme Oyster House in the French Quarter -- a symbolic location chosen to remind Americans how integral local oysters, shrimp, and crawfish are to the region.
Surrounded by commercial fishermen and celebrity chefs like John Besh, Jindal reminded the crowd that seafood is hugely important to the state's financial health (and that of the region as a whole). In Louisiana alone, the impact on the economy is estimated at $2.3 billion. The proposed safety plan is essentially a 20-year initiative that calls for industry safeguards and repair the damage done to consumer confidence regarding seafood in local waters.
The plan, developed by the Louisiana Departments of Wildlife and Fisheries, Health and Hospitals, Environmental Quality, Economic Development and Agriculture and Forestry, was delivered to Tony Hayward, BP's chief executive officer, on May 29.
According to the letter, the plan would call for "implementation of a science-based seafood safety testing program with transparent metrics of safety and quality" and "a certification program for quality and processing of certified Louisiana seafood." Also, it would include a "successful short-term and sustained long-term consumer information campaign designed to reassert the Louisiana brand."
As public anger over BP's perceived lack of action continues to mount, it's a savvy time to request funds. Jindal said the $457 million represents "a fraction of what we would lose year after year after year" should BP decline to the request. It's just a drop in the bucket of what the oil company is going to end up shelling out for this mess, but for PR value alone, the money would be well-spent.