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Apr 30, 2010
Governor Jindal Requests U.S. Commerce Secretary Declare a Commercial Fisheries Failure in Louisiana & Requests SBA Administrator Activate Federal Disaster Declaration to Help Small Businesses Impacted by the Oil Spill

BATON ROUGE – Today, Governor Bobby Jindal sent the following letter to U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Gary Locke requesting the declaration of a commercial fisheries failure as well as support from the Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration for commercial and recreational fishing businesses. This declaration will provide financial assistance to individual fishermen, assistance for the restoration of fisheries and assistance for commercial and recreational fishing businesses.

The Governor also sent a letter to U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Karen Mills requesting the activation of all appropriate federal disaster declaration clauses that would enable the SBA to assist the small businesses in the state that will be impacted by the oil spill. Specifically, the Governor requested that the SBA consider temporarily suspending loan repayments for coastal businesses that are impacted by the oil spill and also those who have 2005 and 2008 SBA disaster and economic injury loans as a result of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Ike and Gustav.

Full Letters Below:

April 29, 2010

The Honorable Gary Locke
Secretary of Commerce
U.S. Department of Commerce
14th and Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20230

Dear Mr. Secretary:

As Louisiana continues to address the impact of the April 20th Deepwater Horizon rig explosion, I am writing to request your consideration of activating the appropriate Federal disaster declaration clauses in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act  as well as relevant clauses to trigger support from the Economic Development Administration (EDA). This action by your office will result in the declaration of a commercial fisheries failure for Louisiana and provide other economic recovery options via EDA.

In coastal Louisiana our communities are driven by three primary industries that provide great benefit to the nation’s commerce – ports/maritime, energy and fishing – all vital employers, important components of our state’s coastal economy and national economic output. The waters offshore Louisiana’s coast supply nearly one-third of all commercial seafood harvested in the lower 48 states, with values in excess of $2.85 billion annually.  As the largest provider of domestic seafood in the continental United States, protection of Louisiana’s fisheries, habitats and catch are critical to our nation’s economy and food supply.  In addition to the potential biologic and ecologic impacts in these coastal communities, we must not overlook the crippling effect that this event will have on the commercial and sport fisheries in Louisiana.  The seafood industry is not only a large economic driver, but a defining element of the unique culture, and a crucial tourist draw to the state.

The declaration of a fisheries disaster and the providing of fisheries disaster assistance and EDA support will ensure that our small businesses and families who make a living in the fishing and maritime industries will be sustained through this disaster.  The EDA assistance will also ensure that businesses associated with our marinas, bait shops, and other recreational fishing facilities that generate billions of dollars in economic activity annually will be able to sustain this disaster.

The State will also need assistance from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) not only with helping individual fishermen but to ensure that this productive ecosystem is cleaned and restored, that these products are of high quality, and that our small businesses can compete and maintain markets that are under significant pressure from foreign growers.  We look forward to working with you on the biologic and ecologic impacts that this event has had and will have, but ask that you declare a commercial fisheries failure and provide associated fisheries and EDA support so that we can begin the process of assuring the fishing community, impacted coastal residents and businesses that economic and financial assistance that are needed can be counted on to help get Louisiana fishermen back on the water once this crisis has passed.

Sincerely,

Governor Bobby Jindal

_________________________________________________________________

April 29, 2010

The Honorable Karen G. Mills
Administrator Small Business Administration
US Small Business Administration
409 3rd Street, SW
Washington, DC 20416

Dear Administrator Mills:

As Louisiana continues to address the impact of the April 20th Deepwater Horizon oil spill, I am writing to request your consideration of activating all appropriate Federal disaster declaration clauses within the Small Business Administration that would allow SBA to assist the many small businesses in Louisiana that are going to be impacted by this tragic event both on land and on the water.  One specific request is that SBA consider temporarily suspending loan repayments for Louisiana coastal businesses that are impacted by the oil spill and those who have 2005 and 2008 SBA disaster and economic injury loans as a result of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Ike and Gustav.

Your early commitment to assistance by enacting these provisions will greatly aid our maritime related industries and provide assurances to our small businesses that economic recovery options are forthcoming while the clean-up work begins.

In coastal Louisiana our communities are driven by two primary industries that provide great benefit to the nation’s commerce; oil and gas and commercial and recreational fishing.  Both sectors are vital employers and important components of our parishes’ economies and many are small businesses.  As the 120-mile oil slick bears down on Louisiana and moves into State waters, we are working with our fisherman and local community leaders to quickly address the economic impact of the oil spill’s effects.

The state is therefore requesting assistance via SBA to assist coastal businesses and communities that will have to address both the immediate and long-term financial impacts of this event. We look forward to working with you and ask that you enact the appropriate provisions within SBA so that we can begin the process of assuring businesses in our impacted coastal communities that economic and financial assistance that are needed can be counted on to help keep or return Louisiana businesses to commerce.

Sincerely,

Bobby Jindal
Governor

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