tv U.S. House of Representatives CSPAN July 13, 2010 10:00am-1:00pm EDT
i urged the postal service at that time to do a huge campaign to encourage people to write letters. you're absolutely right that it is a dying form, and should not be because it is a way for people to preserve memories. i am encouraging the green card association and the envelope manufacturers association to work together to do a kind of promotional campaign, as you suggest. i would like the postal service to be part of that. host: we have time for a couple of more calls before we go to our live event. winter haven, florida. karen, hi there. caller: roof, i want to second your thoughts on the electronic tracks. -- ruth, i want to second thoughts on electronic trucks our truck comes by each day apart at the end of the street, and that little truck can easily be electric instead of gas.
i wanted to ask you if the postal service is under the federal mandate that barack obama had four weatherizing their buildings and making them more energy efficient. guest: the postal service because it is an independent agency does not necessarily have to follow the executive orders of the president with regard to those things, but it has tried very hard to fallout energy- efficient guidelines. they are working on that to retrofit their buildings and to bring them into a more efficient use. many of them are quite old, and the postal service, given the fact that it has a $7 billion deficit, does not have a lot of capital around to invest in that. so they were doing things like working with utilities or other companies to share the savings that might come from implementing energy efficiency changes. but more can always be done
through the whole country. we should be working very hard all over the country to save energy. electric vehicles would be a huge change for the postal service. and you are right, the stop-and- go nature of the cart makes it ideal for electric use than gasoline. that really should be changed. host: when you're asked, "we do not have enough junk mail now," they want to know. guest: what is junk mail? somebody says they do not like the coupons, somebody else says they do not like the catalogs, somebody says they do not like the letters inviting them to a free dinner, some sort of investment meeting. each person has a different idea of what they like or do not like in junk mail. so the bottom line is, we have a
market economy. if the mail was not useful, the people send it to you, they would not be sending it. so you may say you do not like it, but overall it appears that it is useful in terms of stimulating the economy, creating jobs, and spreading information about the marketplace. host: stephen, republican, urbana, illinois, for ruth goldway. caller: i do not know either. host: stephen, let me stop you right there. if you can hit the mute button on your set, we will hear you a lot better. turn down the sound it you could. caller: ok. host: ok, steven, go ahead. i am not sure if he is with us. are you there, dave?
caller: good morning. my question for mr. goldway is, what the way do you have regarding pension that the postal workers receive? it seems like everything is dedicated to cutting back services, but never reducing costs. if you think about gm or the automobile companies, you saw a significant reduction. host: but you did touch on health care earlier. guest: one of the ironies of the 2006 law is that it increase the postal service benefits by requiring them to prepay health care benefits, to the tune of $5.5 billion a year. and a 70% of the budget. so instead of reducing benefits, that lot actually increased the requirements for the postal service. if we can eliminate that requirement, that will certainly help the postal service. the matter of benefits is a
matter of negotiation between employees and the postal service and it is not something that the commission is involved with, except to the extent that we have -- we try to keep the postal service's rate at a level that would not allow them to provide a reasonable salary increases. we do not want to make them feel they have rates raised -- so the rates cover a legitimate cost host: lorraine, springfield, missouri. seek out i would like to commend the post office because i have family members that work for the post office. i also was told that the vehicles have already gone to a lot of natural gas in their
vehicles, which is a good thing. i also heard the brakes on those little trucks had to be replaced about every month because of starting and stopping. so there is a big expense, but i do not what -- i do not know what you do about the brakes. but i am very happy about the postal service. guest: the postal service had about 600,000 employees. it has about 820,000 employees when i first started. almost everybody has somebody in their family who works for the postal service or for some part of the mailing industry, because it is a trillion dollar industry. it is a key part of the part of the nation's economy, to keep packages and information and checks flowing. something that often is not thought about. it is taken for granted.
the computers -- it is more glamorous, if you think about that. the basic imitations -- the basic limitations come from the paper world >> there is very little turnover. they are good jobs. they have provided a basic middle-class jobs for people in every part of the country because there are postal services everywhere. it provides some good basic jobs everywhere. you find we were in rapid city,
s.d. and in the gillette, wyoming and we have been in buffalo, new york and places where there are perhaps far fewer jobs, but the basic jobs that the postal service provides are important to the economy in addition to the communications network they provide their. in tough times like these, that is no small measure of benefit that the postal service provides in the united states. host: aside from cutting debt and other ideas we talked about this past hour, what are the long-term issues, 20 years down the road at the postal service? guest: there will be a major turnover in employees. half of the employees are probably qualify for retirement.
will the retirement result in a significantly smaller work force and will you have to replace them with newly trained employees who are more capable of working in the computer age? those are questions that will be dealt with. i think there will have to be a lot more experimentation with hybrid communications and a way to integrate mail and personal correspondence and letters with the kind of twitter and best networking we do now so there is a record of what we have an opportunity to do things quickly or do things carefully. we should have both of those available in one stream. host: ms. goldway, thank you for your time this morning. guest: 94 the good questions.
"washington journal" starts every morning at 7:00 so we will see you back here tomorrow morning. we will take you down to new orleans on the national commission on the bp deepwater horizon accident. we will show you two sections from this morning including michael bromwich, the director of ocean energy management with the department of interior formally known as mms. we will also hear from elected officials. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> the department of interior and the national oceanic atmospheric association and the environmental protection agency. following that at 10:45, the commission will hear from a local -- from local officials including the president of one parrish, the mayor of grand island, louisiana, and the mayor
of biloxi, mississippi. we will break for lunch at noon and at 1:30, we will reconvene with a committee on ecological impacts. we will hear from the bayou interface shared community organizing from boat people s.o.s. and from woods hole oceanographic institution. we will take a break from 2:30- 3:00 which will be followed by one hour of public comments from 3:00-4:00. i would like to have the floor over to our co-chairman. >> thank you, chris. these remarks will be brief. first, yesterday we said that the reason we can to new orleans
was to hear from the people who had been most directly affected by this tragedy and we did and we will again today. what we heard was not only in terms of policy and science advanced our understanding of the issue, but the passion of the people who spoke about the significance of this to their lives touched us in our soul. i appreciate all those who contributed to that greater understanding by this commission. i look forward to a similar experience today. one of the issues that came up repeatedly yesterday was the issue of the moratorium and the effect that it was having. mr. riley and i said during a hearing and that several interviews subsequently that the president was quite specific as to what our assignments were and
they are basically threefold. one is to answer the question of what happened and two, to look to the future as to what can be done to reduce the prospect of this occurring again, and three, to make policy recommendations on the future of offshore oil and gas extractions in the united states. we had not been given a specific role to play as it relates to the moratorium. today, we will have with as people who do have a specific responsibility for the moratorium. i think it is appropriate for us to ask some questions since we are in part going to be looking at what we need to do in the future. this is an important element of what is happening today and how well it is a file -- it is functioning to accomplish its purpose will be part of our consideration as to how to recommend for future instances like this, should there be a
cessation of activity by a generalized aspect of the industry until certain conditions are complied with. i anticipate tha while this is not a specific responsibility, this commission will shed some light on the question of the moratorium for the purposes of the concerned public and our purposes of being in a better position to answer the question of how we can do a better cook should an incident such as this occur in the future. thank you. >> good morning. i would say that our decision to have our first meeting in this region has been hugely informative to all the members of the commission, both maturing that we did, visiting the various places in the four states affected, and the presentations made to us
yesterday. i don't think we could have acquired as clear, as poignant and understanding of the impact of the oil spill itself, the response, and the moratorium had we not come here. i think all of you who informed us to the degree we have been informed in this first day, yesterday, of our six-month tenure. this is our second party that this is a searing statement. the moratorium is having a greater impact than the spilled oil. we also note that the secretary of the interior's statement yesterday with respect to the declaration of a new moratorium specifically mentions this commission. i think this will obligate us to review what constructive suggestions we might be able to make overtime without wanting to
distract us from a longer-term mission of the commission which is threefold. we need to figure out what caused this, figure out that we can be assured it will not happen again, and what should be the future of offshore oil and gas development. we will turn out to the presentations from the federal agency representatives. we are pleased to have you here. you are key agencies involved in this response from you have important information which we hope to illicit today and the questions we will ask but also in the months ahead as we hope to work very closely with all of you. we have appreciated assurances from the heads of each of your agencies and departments that we will have that cooperation and we look forward to it. we will begin with michael bromwich, the director of the bureau of ocean development
which is newly named. welcome. >> distinguished members of the commission, it is a great pleasure to appear in front of you. i have been on the job a short time, 22 days, to be exact i have been immersed in issues related to the moratorium and i hope i will be able to share some information that is useful to the commission. when i agreed to appear last friday, thought i was only going to talk about the state of the joint coast guard investigation. obviously, events have occurred since then that have caused me to want to expend the topics i will address it with your permission, i would like to do that. i would like to talk about three matters related to this. one is the new moratorium that was issued yesterday by secretary ken salazar.
i would like to describe the process that led up to it, the scope of it, and so forth. second, i want to describe a process that the secretary has the issuesrelate to addressed in his moratorium decision memo which i will be doing over the next 60 days or so. finally, i will talk briefly about the status of the joint boem-coast guard investigation on i will look forward to your questions after i am finished yesterday afternoon, secretary ken salazar announced a moratorium. technically, it is a suspension of certain permitted drilling activities on the outer continental shelf for that decision was based on an extensive record of information that had been compiled and developed by the department of interior since the oil spill in late april.
much of it was developed since may 28 which is when the original moratorium was issued. on the basis of that information which is extensive, the secretary concluded that a continuing pause in deep water drilling was necessary in order to get additional information relative to the following three concerns -- one, drilling safety. the secretary thought it was crucial that he allow me, my agency, and the rest of the department to develop interim rules that are necessary to address safety issues that have come to light in connection with the bp oil spill and that have come to light in connection with the ongoing investigation. second, this would allow more time for the other investigations that are going on including the joint coast guard- boem investigation and others to
collect and investigate other key evidence that may bear on the potential causes of the bp oil spill. that was the first issue which was drooling -- killing safety for the second issue was blowout continu -- containment capability. this bill relates to having industry and others come forward to show us and show the public that they have developed a more effective containment strategy than the ones they have developed to date. we have all followed what has happened over the last 80 days or so with one strategy after another seemingly improvise. most of them failed. the good news is that today it looks like the most recent strategy will be succeeding but is it important -- but is important to go over options. the industry has acknowledged this in front of congress and in meetings with the department of the interior. they do not have a fix on what the most effective containment strategies for oil spills are.
third is the need to collect additional information for oil spill response we need to allow industry and state government to make clear that sufficient resources are available in the event that there were another spill. an unprecedented allocation of resources of crews and equipment have been deployed to address the current oil spill. this raises serious concerns about whether there are any resources left in the event of another oil spill. those are the three issues -- and drilling safety, containment, and oil spill response. in terms of the scope of the moratorium, i want to make clear that it is no longer defined in terms of feed in the water. the earlier one was defined as anything more than 500 feet. this moratorium is defined in terms of specific technologies that are used. in particular, bop stacks. the suspension, the moratorium
is directed at sub-surface blowout preventers which are much more complex control systems than surface bop's and are much less accessible for intervention. the second category is bop's on floating devices. in that case, the risks are that there are high pressure risings and casings that stretch from the sea floor to the rape and can be exposed -- this can lead to uncontrolled flow below the surface. those are the two categories, technology to which the moratorium applies. it is roughly common ground with the original moratorium. we thought it was important to be precise and specific and talk about the technology's or rather than distance spread in terms of duration, the new suspensions
will apply through november 30, 2010. but, the secretary has said he will remain open to the possibility of adjusting that suspension period based on additional information that is developed between them and a man. the secretary will continue to solicit and review information regarding whether any deep water drilling can take place before november 30. that leads me to the second point which is that the secretary issued in a memorandum directed me to develop a process for collecting additional public and expert input concerning these central issues that pertain to deepwater drilling activities. they are drilling and work place environment safety, additional oil spill response capabilities, and wild well intervention and blowout
containment techniques. he also wants me to explore whether there are drilling activities that are significantly less risky that might be allowed for that time. in response to that directive from the secretary, i intend to hold a series of public meetings and public events with representatives of industry, ngo's environmental groups, state and local representatives to gather information that there on those crucial issues that will inform the secretary's judgment whether to revise the moratorium before november 30. we have already begun planning and scheduling those events. we had a scheduling meeting yesterday. there was another call this morning. i am also by the end of this week or at latest early next week that we will be able to announce a schedule of events that we plan to happen all the gulf states as well as in california and the last.
we anticipate that we will hold roughly a dozen meetings or so and will do them very quickly, probably within 60 days because i am directed to issue a report that collects the information byt wilwill be gathering october 1 so the secretary can make a decision by november 30. it will be very accelerated. that is what i wanted to say about the public hearings. last but not least, let me touch briefly on the joints boem-coast guard investigation. that investigation has been going on almost from the day of the oil spill immediately following the deepwater horizon accident. boem and coast guard casualty investigators were deployed to the scene to question witnesses and gather evidence. those two agencies were directed to determine causes of
the fire, the solution, and the sinking of the deep water horizon and to determine the adequacy of the safety net for oil exploration on the outer continental shelf per the process that has been followed by the investigation ask two co-shares. there's the head of the office of safety management for field operations and the u.s. coast guard capt. the public hearings are conducted by this joint investigation according to the u.s. coast guard marine board of investigations rules. that board has the authority to issue administrative subpoenas and to hold public carries. i do not have the authority to issue testimonial subpoenas but exception, one inspectioa people have agreed to testify. there are seven investigators and four inspectors to -- per
team and seven investigators and two inspectors for the coast guard team. the division of responsibility between boem and the coast guard is as follows -- i agency is concentrated on well-related activities including the adequacy of well design and construction, the source and path of the hydrocarbons that caused the blow out, the practices of the deep water horizon that led to the blow out, because of the explosion and the failure of the blowout preventer. by contrast, the coast guard has focused on the evacuation efforts on the deep water horizon, the search and rescue efforts by the coast guard, in assisting vessels, and the firefighting efforts. over the past few weeks, the joint investigation board has issued a large number of subpoenas for documentary and physical evidence as as -- and has interviewed a large number of ewitnesses.
the took statements from personnel aboard the deepwater horizon, approximately 125 people. through the public hearing process, they have taken testimony from approximately 35 witnesses with another 28 scheduled for a hearing for next week. that is here in louisiana. they have also conducted approximately 25-30 phone interviews and they have conducted five or six site visits. on completing the investigation, the board will compile and submit a single report that outlines the facts collected during the investigation along with the lead investigators conclusions and recommendations. that report will be submitted simultaneously to me and the commandant of the coast guard who will review for approval. i just want to say there have been two sets of public
hearings on may 11 and 12 and the second on may 26 and 29. there is a third set of hearings scheduled for the. we next week. that third set of hearings will focus on the how and why of the deep water blowout. the board will receive testimony from vessel crew and corporate personnel on the adequacy of the will design and construction. there will be a fourth set of hearings. there is no specific date at this time they will likely be scheduled after the blowout preventer is brought up from the bottom of the gulf. that is a brief summary of the three issues that i want to address in front of you, the scope of the moratorium, the public process, and the joyboem-coast guard investigation. i look forward to any questions you may have. >> we will come back to ask questions after it had concluded the presentations. charlie henry, the court matter
of the national ocean that -- oceanic and atmospheric association. >> thank you. let me say that on behalf of the 12,800 n ofoah, i am honored to have an opportunity to speak to you today. i want to thank you for your willingness to come to louisiana and respond to this unprecedented oil spill and environmental crisis. your role will be important for the future. this will be to determine what went wrong and how to reduce the possibility of this happening again and had to enhance future preparations and how to restore the gulf of mexico. i find this an honor to speak today for personal reasons because this is my home, louisiana. i was born here and i live here and the oil spill has taken place in my backyard. following a few additional remarks, i will discuss the status of the bp deepwater
horizons bill and the ecological effects. the deepwater horizon an explosion and subsequent oil spill is a human tragedy and an environmental disaster. we cannot forget the 11 workers that died during the explosion. within moments of the explosion, noa responded. at 2:24 a.m., a few hours after the incident began, i was woken by the u.s. coast guard safety unit and respond. since those first moments of the crisis, noa scientists haven't -- have been engaged. our ongoing activities include tracking and testing the movement of the oil in the surface -- on the service and under the say, studying the shoreline, looking at cleanups, monitoring the weather to support operations with particular reason focused on the trouble storms that have had an
impact on the oil spill, sampling sepal to ensure its safety, ensuring the protection of wildlife like sea turtles and marine mammals, and assessing the damage to our beaches, marshes, and marine life to support restoration efforts. noa is believed science advisor to the u.s. coast guard and as other wide-ranging authority. we have expertise looking down from space and the atmosphere and on our coast as well as on and under the oceans. it is a responsibility that we take very seriously and plan for constantly pernoa is the story of our nation's oceans including our fisheries. under the endangered species act, the mammal protection act, the fishery conservation act, the national marine sanctuaries and n,oa has expertise, science, and legal responsibility to
manage the marine fish and wildlife of these habitats. we're extremely concerned about the impact of this oil spill in the gulf of fisheries. what is at risk is not just crucial jobs but also a unique way of life that goes back many generations our fishery closures have been the first line of defense to ensure the safety of seafood. with the fda and the gulf states, we developed a step -- a testing protocol to safely reopen areas for fishing. we are also concerned about the ecological health of the northern gulf of mexico. my noa colleagues have been rescuing sea turtles, determining the cause of death, and relocating turtles to keep them out of harm's way. we have planes in the air and ships on the water monitoring and researching the fate of the oil and its effect on marine ecosystems. we are concerned about the long- term restoration of the gulf of
mexico. as a federal trust a no,a will remain engaged in the restoration long after the oil release has stopped and recoverable oil has been cleaned up off the service of the water. no federal trust the agency has been touched more by the effects of this oil spill thannoa. our responsibility to extend from the ecosystems of are to where oiltuaries continues to spilled 5,000 feet below the surface. our role as an independent and honest scientific adviser. early on in this response, the noa administrator made a comment and said there would be surprises. i know this firsthand.
i have been responding to oil spills for most of my 25 years of service and you always learn something new. we always find surprises. we found that on this oil spill as wellnoa was there before the incident and noa will be there after the event. we are stewards of the ocean. after a spill, we work with our state pardons to develop and implement restoration efforts. it is from these broad experiences that i will talk about what we know and have identified as concerns related to this oil spill. the gulf of mexico ecosystem is highly complex and dynamic they are rich havens for biodiversity that provide essential habitat for a number of commercially and recreational imported species of fish, mammals, and birds. noa's trust and
responsibilities encompass all of the ecosystems that have been a pet -- affected by this oil spill. that includes the nearshore coastal zone to the deepest waters of the gulf of mexico. the crude oil which is threatening these ecosystems is a complex mixture of tens of thousands of chemicals. many of the components of crude oil are known to be toxic to marine life. oil itself can have impact on marine life by just a simple effects of contact and smothering. the ecology of the gulf of mexico is suffering from the impact of what can be described as a new major oil spill every day. this has been for the last 2.5 months. we may never know the volume of oil released, we can characterize the physical transporting mechanisms. the oil is being released 5,000 feet below the surface and as
the heavy cloud of oil and gas mixture. the heaviest of these droplets drift to the service of the ocean in as little as three hours but some of the smaller droplets may never reach the service of the ocean. once these droplets slowly reach the surface of the ocean, they actually create a small footprint that is not small. it is about 1 mile to a mile and a half for a day coalesce to form a thin slick that will mix with larger slick spres. these are moved by currents and wind and when they approached the near shore environment, they are moved by a tidal movement into their habitats. as the oil drips and floats and the service, to is subject to chemical changes. that changes of the nature of the oil and the response and how
we look at the cleanup. a fraction of the oil is dissolved into the water column creating direct chemical exposure to marine life pretty portion of the oil may be as high as 40% and that could evaporate. that evaporated oil actually creates a potential exposure to the marine mammals and turtles that breathe at the interface between the atmosphere and the ocean. natural dispersion from wind and waves actually put oil back into the water column creating additional exposures. there is also the use of disbursements which can increase the amount of oil in the water column. disbursements are used only as a trade-off to try to balance the overall threat of the incident rea. with the oil still being released, it is difficult to provide what the true impact of this bill will bakbe.
i would like to provide an overview of a few key resources. one is commercial fisheries. each year, the fishing industry contributes hundreds of millions of dollars to the gulf state economies. fishery resources include shrimp, crab, oysters, and other in vertebrates and are critical to our way of life in louisiana. the gulf of mexico is the only spawning ground for the western atlantic population of the bluefin tuna which is passed the peak of its breeding season in offshore waters of the gulf of mexico. we believe there will be impacts to our fisheries critic gulf of mexico is some 25 species of endangered or threatened sea turtles. that may include exposure to oil, inhalation of cards, in just an oil residue, and direct impact to eggs laid in sand on beaches.
distribution, the disturbance of the nest has been one of our relative concerns to the point that many of them have been relocated to keep them out of harm's way. there are 29 species of marine mammals in the gulf of dax-co which are protected and six of them are on the endangered species list including sperm whales. marine mammals in general will exhibit a type of avoidance behavior, the oil spill is so large that that makes that difficult. we have been monitoring the marine mammals and sperm whales on this incident for that concern. as of a few days ago, 643 see turtles have been found in the area of the oil spill. 464 were found dead or died in rehabilitation. 62 dolphins were found in the
area and 60 were found dead brother as the ones burwell reported found beached in this response spread. it is on known which of these animals were directly affected by the oil spill or were part of the natural harsh life in the marine environment. submerged aquatic vegetation and coastal marshes are nursing grounds for our commercial fisheries. as of two days ago, more than 500 linear miles of shoreline have had oil of which 200 miles are coastal marshes. noa is actively involved doing everything possible to mitigate the impact of this oil spill on the ecology of the gulf of mexico. the gulf is fairly resilient in many ways.
the warm waters, the height mystery of loans actually enhance the rate of natural degradation of the oil that has been spilled. we have to think that these same habitats have been exposed to other physical stresses from hurricanes over the last few years so they are fragile ecosystems. that factors into the overall effect of the oil spill. noa will continue to give scientific expertise. we are already fully engaged as a trustee and scientific leader. we are bringing the integrated biology, chemicals, and social economic size to make an informed decision we are also and have been deploying our assets to monitor the environmental conditions. that it was airships, and gliderr is,od's, satellites, airplanes, and other platforms. the post-oil spill recovery will provide a comprehensive r
response. throughout the coastal zone, the federal government and the states must work in partnership with a range of other stakeholders to insure that the environment and communities of this recent wh are madeole. in closing, this crisis began roughly on the 40th anniversary of earth day which was a follow- up of a major oil spill in santa barbara in 1969. roughly 20 years after that, the exxon valdez occurred. both of those oil spills had significant affect on changing laws and regulations on how we manage and respond and manage resources. the clean water act is one that came after the santa barbara oil spill. the open air pollution act came
in after the exxon valdez we ask ourselves that after this event, what will be the legacy of the bp horizon oil spill for the future of the united states and the gulf of mexico in how we manage development of resources and that is the protection of our natural habitats that support restoration, fisheries, and static qualities of going to the beach on a sunday afternoon. with that, i would say thank you very much. >> thank you, mr. and mr. henry. >> i want to thank the commission for convening of this hearing. i want to concur on the comments that this is critical that the lessons of this event result in changes in preparation, changes in response capability so that
the events are minimized, but should event occurred, there are adequate preparation and capability to respond more effectively and efficiently as the commission is well aware on april 22, the mobile offshore drilling unit, the deep water horizon drilling, owned and managed by trans ocean and contract to be paid -- contacted by bp sank after a severe fire. immediately, the epa along with its partners stood up to assist in the response action. since that time, thousands of barrels per day of crude oil have been released into the gulf of mexico. the u.s. coast guard as the coordinator for this oil spill response is leading the federal government's response actions in the coastal zone and is overseeing all response actions
including those made ep. i would like to walk through the various aspects of the epa's leadership with respect to this event the epa is one of the many agencies providing support to the u.s. coast guard-led federal response to the bp oil spill and the coast guard's decision as the federal on scene coordinator. they have modified disbursements to clean the reclined oil and weighs from the shoreline. the epa is monitoring sampling activity which provides the coast guard, state and local governments, and the public with the information about the potential impacts of the oil spill and response on human
health to the residence and the "life along the shore -- and a quiet life along the shoreline. the data may be used to make informed decisions by the coast guard, the food and drug administration, the national oceanic and atmospheric administration, and state and local agencies among others about seafood, habitat, and the closure issues spurted from the beginning, the epa understood that this is a very public events and transparency was critical to ensure the public has the information. from the beginning, the epa sought to post the data on their website on a regular basis with feedback from the public and that would improve the information and explain it to the public. we believe the public as a critical role in understanding and overseeing the epa efforts. air quality monitoring -- the epa is moderate -- monitoring
many issues associated with the oil. we are also monitoring ozone levels and testing these specificboc's that are present in crude oil. we have also brought in a mobile bus which traveled the entire gulf coast to conduct real-time sampling and analysis to detect a range of chemical constituents at low levels.
the epa is monitoring ozone and pollution along the gulf coast using its established network for air monitoring stations and are looking for a particular pollution from the burning of oil offshore. there are levels reaching on healthy and we detect sensitive groups. these levels are common along the gulf coast for this time of year. our monitoring has not shown unusual levels for either the public consensus bill began. epa teams are conducting service water monitoring activities along the gulf coast and have collected seven samples from immediately after the event, we concluded it was critical we establish a baseline to compare potential impacts. we conducted baseline samples
that we are using to compare our ongoing monitoring in the water. the epa service water samples collected july 5 did not reveal any elevated levels of disbursement constituents along the shoreline. surface water results collected from may 21-the june 29 along the coast of louisiana were measured by two other chemicals. they did not detect either one. a waste directive was issued to bp talking about the requirements that are expected for the management of waste material in the oil spill response for this the first time ever that the federal on-scene coordinator has issued this. the epa felt that given the gravity, it was critical to have an overlay of direct federal authority for the management of
waste. the waste directive insured that the bp with plans will receive community input and the operations would be fully transparent and the state and federal authorities would have strong oversight roles throughout the process. the p is required to document enclosed information of disposal all collected waste materials and to conduct regular sampling of solid liquid waste to ensure that they are properly characterized and disgust. the sampling has concluded that these materials fall in the categories of non-hazardous solid waste and have been disposed of in landfills. prior to this approval, the epa has reviewed the compliance history of the facilities that bp had identified as recipients of the cleanup ways to ensure that the vessel is are designed and operated in a manner that makes all of the federal and state standards for protecting public health environment. we have found all of these
facilities have been approved in the waste plans for the waste directive are in compliance and there are no community impacts at this point but we continue to monitor that to ensure that there are no ongoing impact. state authorities have shown tremendous leadership in conducting regular inspections of both the landfills in the staging areas to ensure there is no impact resulting from these operations. separate from the requirements that the rate -- that the requirements have been imposed on bp and waste management, it was critical to have independent waste characterization and independent inspection of these facilities. the epa has conducted independent way sampling as well as inspection of these facilities. independent monitoring has not showing this to be hazardous at this point but we continue to
conduct these inspections and will continue to do so. when this crisis occurred, but fell -- the federal on-scene court never granted the authorization to use a approve dispersal on the surface of the water to mitigate the shore line impact of the oil spill on fisheries, nurseries, wetlands and other sensitive environments. while the use of disbursements in response to this oil spill represents an environmental trade-offs and is not a goal, it is important to remember that oil is that the number one enemy and disbursement is less toxic than oil that they break down. the use of surfaced disbursement decreases the environmental risks posed by oil spills to shorelines and organisms that live in surface waters. when used in this way, disbursements' breakdown over the course of weeks rather than persisting in the environment as well might.
-- as oil might. despite disbursements being a tool for the reasons i articulate, it must be the tool of last resort it must be the tool that is only used when other tools are maximized and utilized. skimming has to be maximized and burning must be maximized. the epa required dp to demonstrate that the minimum is necessary for the oil that is encountered. in addition to the surface application, the coordinator was passed to plug disbursement at the lake. the epa refused to concur with this initial request. it had not been previously
authorized and there had not been adequate testing in our view. the epa demanded and requested that the federal on-scene coordinator require bp to conduct tests for the effectiveness of deep sea application of disbursements. a number of tests were conducted and none of the tests in our view satisfy us in terms of effectively demonstrating effectiveness3 . .
this approval was given on may 22. in addition to our a valuation of the use of deep sea dispersants, the epa sought to come -- to have its own independent testing of the dispersant that has been chosen and compare that with the other comparable available products. we have released our initial round of data which was done on june 30. the epa's initial conclusions are that that this person being
used as compared to the other products are fairly compare both in terms of toxicity and that none of them display biologically significant disruptive activities. in addition, the toxicity tests of the product alone showed that while all eight dispersants sure roughly the same effect, two products proved to be the least toxic to small fish. jd-2000 and sas-ron gold released toxic to shrimp. while this is important information to have, additional testing is needed to further inform the use of these dispersants. we are currently in the process of evaluating all of these dispersants in various combinations of with the oil currently being released which is the louisiana sweet crude oil for the two test species and
we expect to release the results in roughly about one week or so. we will provide that information to the commission. >> in addition to evaluating the toxicity, the epa was very concerned upon the approval by the fose to use the volumes of the dispersants. this was a skyrocketing years of surface dispersants. -- is eroding -- a skyrocketing and years of service dispersants. a meeting on may 26, we required bp to ramp down into seven for% of their peak usage. the directive that was issued a limited bp to 15,000 gallons without prior written
authorization from the fose. since that directive, this person news has dropped 69% from the peak usage and the epa is now prioritizing burning, skimming, and other methods. we will continue to push bp to have rigorous demonstrations of the use of dispersants and it demonstrates that the minimum needed for the conditions encountered. again, the epa in its current role reserve their right to not approve this. the epa has not concurred numerous times based on the actions of adequate demonstrations. i quickly want to touch on our community outreach. the epa is really critical to engage in the community and local non-governmental organizations. administrators come down six
times. this is my third. i had stayed here for multiple weeks at this point. i have attended church meetings and met with a number and ngo's. we think it is critical to explain the information for the local communities for them to play their proper role in the scrutinizing our work. with that, and look forward to your questions. thank you. >> just to follow up quickly, something that is not clear to me is that you mentioned 40% of the oil is dispersed naturally. and that the oil is more toxic than the dispersants. well, why restrict the use of it so heavily and so carefully if that is the case? >> why did we use -- decide to restrict the use? >> yes, if the oil is more toxic.
a lot of fishermen i met with in the gulfport a few days ago had a very strong reservations about dispersants. they think it hides the oil and makes it unavoidable for fish. that was our experience up in prince william sound with the exxon got us -- exxon valdez spill. >> the initial findings have shown that compared to the seven other products, they are relatively comparable in toxicity. this is testing of the dispersants on. the caveat is that we are not currently testing the use of dispersants with the oil and that it could change the toxicity. is preliminary and we will report that probably in one week or so. >> we look forward to that. a british study concludes differently. i guess one of the major questions i had about dispersants was the argument about toxicity after the spill. it strikes me that that is something we might have expected
to have tested and been clearer on before the fed was necessitated to make a decision to use it. >> in terms of the epa's role prior to the events, the epa evaluates and places dispersants on its product cycle based on product demonstrating effectiveness and toxicity. that needs to be changed. the more information will be needed and we believe regulation needs to be changed. >> it is a surprise like mr. hendry referred to. no one is comfortable using dispersants? >> and no one is comfortable in the role we played with the coast guard to trim maximize the use of our surface aspects. -- to try to maximize the use of our surface aspects. dispersants are one item that you have to look out as a net
trade-off. you do not start an oil spill. there's nothing you can do to make it better before the spill happened. when we look at is, ideally, we would like to contain the oil near the source, but will that skates near the source, we have limited things that we can respond with. dispersants allow the opportunity to treat a large area of oil that we may not be able to encounter with a skimmer effectively in order to be able to collect and remove it from the surface. we look at where the oil could go and the impact it could have in near shore environments. the trade-off of this person in deepwater has been shown to have a less negative impact which is why we support the proper use of dispersants fully integrated with response. >> you have heard the presentation to us yesterday and many of the others. i suppose if there is as single
point of consensus with respect to ever run river from, including freshman, it is that the moratorium is doing very that of things. how bad can it be to put inspectors on each of these rigs? we have had three months since the spill to like at the three items you mentioned -- drilling safety, containment technology, and the response capability. that way we can draw conclusions about the safety sufficient allowed to the resuming activity. the industry is very clear to me and with us than they believe the long record of operating deep sea rigs without spills is exemplary and is typical. it should provide some reassurance. would it not possible to move faster to ascertain the details
of current practice sufficient to allow resumption? >> we can and will be doing that. there are three legs of the secretary's decision. even inspections that we all had a lot of confidence in, we have to a knowledge that they would leave a margin for error. no inspection can be perfect. the two other legs implicated by this are the containment risks and the oil spill response issues. as long as the spill is out there and has not been contained and that the oil spill response capabilities are all being consumed by the currents bill, the secretary concluded it is simply too risky to let in deepwater drilling continue. let me be clear. there are a significant set of activities that are permitted including production. production is not stopped by the
moratorium. there is a long list in the secretary's decision of other activities, emergency activities, other kinds of activities that are permitted. it is simply what has been defined as the most risky category of activity's that the secretary has concluded based on a wealth of evidence. he does not feel comfortable authorizing it at this point. over the course of the next 60 days or so, we will gather information. if we can get suggestions that will help facilitate and expedite coming to the point where the secretary will feel comfortable in allowing companies to do deep water drilling, we would love to get there. based on the available evidence now, we do not feel that way. >> the evidence we would be waiting would be the lifting of the blowout preventer? >> that is some of it. i think that is important. i think it is also important that other aspects of the joint
investigation go further. i outlined in my opening statement, the hearings that will be held next week that relate to well-designed and other features of that particular well. we are learning more literally every day. i think the secretary anticipates a process where that will continue. he hopes that at some point prior to november 30 that he will have a comfort level to allow deepwater exploratory drilling to exist -- to resume. he is not there yet. >> argue in the communication with the industry with respect to reassurances best practices? i would presume they are prepared to make a number of commitments for different kinds of self policing, perhaps. is that seven your pursuing? >> absolutely. we are in touch and we've had meetings with large numbers of representatives. the most recent one was on june 28, the week after i got there.
what was most significant for me was when the questions of containing capabilities and spill response and reassurance was sought that there was a pause and silence. not even industry representatives, at this point, can provide the reassurance that this -- that the sector feels is necessary to expedite deepwater drilling going forward. -- that the secretary feels is necessary. i am sure that substantial efforts are going on right now as we speak in the industry to develop more coherence and a more robust containment capabilities as well as more robust oil spill response capabilities. that is a central part of what we will be trying to get from them as the public meetings and hearings that i will be conducting go forward. we have an open invitation to the industry to provide us with their best thinking, best practices, their self policing,
whenever techniques they think are best designed to relieve concerns about containment and spill response as well as safety. the sooner we can get such plans and examine them to have our experts in the agency examined them, the sooner we get to the point with the secretary make a comfortable authorizing drilling. it is not as though we are standing in the corner isolating ourselves from the industry for their suggestions. right now, we have an honest agreement with them whether it is safe and prudent to allow the exploratory drilling to go forward. >> i have been very impressed with the nuclear power organization which is a self policing agency, self monitoring, that allows the company to police the behavior of what might be examined. i think that is worth an examination. i heard about that -- >> i heard about that recently and it went
into some detail about the record of the nuclear industry and how successful they have been and develop a process that really makes sense. that is something we are very into in learning more about. >> thank you. when we met recently with representatives from the department of the interior before your appointment to your current position, they indicated that the 30 day report which outlined the number of recommendations, that they were not comfortable with several of those recommendations because they did not feel they had been adequately tested as to their safety and efficacy. had those areas from the 30 day report, which are not shelf- ready to be used, is there an ongoing process to evaluate and determine if they deserve to now been categorized as a ready to
be put into use? >> yes, chairman gramm, there is. there are strike teams. i think that will be folded into the process that i am directed to engage in with soliciting all sorts of information on safety containment and spill response. the answer to your question is yes. >> could you provide to the commission a list of which of the 30 recommendations that are being subjected to that examination and when the examination is expected to be concluded? >> yes. >> then finally what the results of the examination are when concluded. >> yes, we will do that. >> will that be part of the interim drilling safety rules that you indicated that are being developed? >> yes. those that are deemed ready to be implemented will be part of the interim rules that will be implemented. that is right. >> to what extent is the moratorium generic and applied
to all of the -- does the new definition also, but the 33 -- come up with 33 new rigs being covered? >> it is a snapshot in time. i think the number right now is less than 33. less of the 33 are engaged in the permitted activities under the new moratorium. those that have been stopped doing the work they were going to do is significantly smaller than 33. >> you do not know the number? >> i think the number is something like numbers -- like 21, but let me confirm that later. >> to what extent are the reverses', re specific -- to what extent are the reduced rate specific to those 21? >> could you repeat your question? >> to what extent our the application of the interim rules on drilling safety, will they be rig specific?
well as this before riggs number one, 11, 13, and 22? -- will they say rigs number 1, 11, 13? >> they will the rules of general application. >> will they be applied rig by rig? >> there is a process by which documents need to be provided indicating they had met the standards opposed and examine the new standards. >> are some of the 21 rigs that are more dance in the process than others? >> i do not know. >> could you provide us with the information? it would seem to me that if we want to encourage affirmative and aggressive behavior toward these goals and, for instance, drilling safety to say if you do not have to wait until the lowest common denominator has
met the standards, as you can meet these standards at an earlier date that you will be treated as an individual conforming case. >> we can do that, but let me make one thing clear. one of the things the department is considering right now is whether there are additional safety rules that need to be implemented before there can be any confidence in the safety of a further deepwater drilling. since this had not yet been finalized, we obviously cannot do an analysis of how long the meeting for promulgating new safety rules are. we are moving as fast as we can to determine what safety rules are needed. i'm sure the industry will move as fast as it can. because there are working number of pending conditions, the kind of progress report you are indicating cannot be done as to those that are still in the hopper.
>> when was the original moratorium imposed? >> may 28 or 29. >> said that has been approximately a month than half? -- a month and a half? could you give us an assessment of what has happened in these six weeks to move towards the development of the standards and the application of those standards against the specific wigs to determine- - rigs to determine if they have been issued? >> ntl6 is a broader base safety standard. those have been out in a number of companies have submitted paperwork to my agency showing that they have complied with those. as for the work of developing
additional rules, that is ongoing in my agency. the truth is i have not yet had a chance to check in to find out exactly what the status is on the development of additional rules. i do know that the work is ongoing. >> one of the additional items you had was the blowout containment strategies. within the industry, has there been a considerable degree of uniformity of the blowout containment technologies that have been applied? or is this a highly individualistic cent of -- set of technology? >> this is the result of a pretty extensive consultation with other companies. my understanding is that it has been an industrywide effort
rather than a bp specific effort. until now, those efforts have not been successful. that is why the secretary and i feel strongly that additional work needs to be done to raise the level of confidence that we can have that strategies in the future will work. >> two final questions, bill. there has been concerns that the current standardsare not cites specific, that is that a company developing its response plan, it does not have to be specifically calibrated to the area that it will be drilled in. we have reports that appear to be almost the xerox off of all reports that are clearly not related to the specific site. do you see a greater degree of
focus? we have had some anecdotal evidence that this specific site where the deepwater horizon was drilling was particularly risky, yet the requirements for their drilling did not take that into account. do you see greater focus on circumstances at the individual sites were drilling is being requested? >> yes, i think the industry has been too casual about the klan they have submitted. my agency has been too casual in approving them. this industry now has 60 to focus from the industry and by agency. i am hoping there will be more individualized, specific kinds of oil response, plans that are tailored to the types of specific areas in which a drilling in the future will be done. i think that is critical. >> one final question.
in the list of things necessary for the moratorium, frequently on the list is, "is the department itself capable of effectively monitoring, overseeing these rules"? in future hearings we will go in more detail. what is your current level of confidence that if you have a satisfactory set of rules, standards, that your agency will be able to execute them? >> there has been regulatory failings in the past. some of them have been publicly aired. some of them have been publicly studied. i will be looking forward to but others find and what i, myself, will find. i am confident the agency will be able to do the job as quickly as possible. that is my mandate and i take it seriously. >> thank you. >> what is your position on the categorical exemptions that have
been used to allow a whole range of rig activities subject to one environmental impact assessment? >> it is a good and complicated question. my understanding is that the reason that categorical exclusions has been permitted is because of the environmental quality and others have approved a tiering process in which you have a very lengthy statement and things are narrowed down by specific applications. the thought is, you cannot and do not have time for another comprehensive environmental review. that has been the status of things. i think categorical exclusion, like almost anything else, are now subject to review. my understanding is that there is a possibility for environmental analysis and in our mental impact statements. the problem is the statute
requires that work be done within 30 days. serious environmental work is extraordinarily difficult to do in 30 days. we need to figure out what kind of regulatory regime makes sense so as not to tie up drilling applications for ever and get to provide the confidence that all of the environmental impact has been taken into account. >> thank you. >> other questions for members of the commission? >> who is responsible for seafood safety? we have encountered a number of the members of the public to have expressed considerable confusion about not just to is responsible but where they go to get information about seafood safety? >> i guess that one false to -- falls to noa. >> there are offshore and nearer
shore fishery issues. the offshore environment, noaa has a role. and in state waters, the state has a strong world working with other agencies. noaa and the states also interact with the fda in making those decisions. the information can be found mostly on the internet, but those updates on changes, closures, and open fishing areas are set by people in louisiana, on our website for national fisheries service, and any changes are posted at noon every day. there is also information about the changes as far as the efforts being taken to reopen the fisheries. i will say that the responsibility to look up for
the protection of the public to ensure the longevity and the people's believe that they are able to purchase good seafood and it is safe and wholesome for consumption falls to those agencies and we are aggressively looking at sampling to try and reopen some of those areas, especially off of florida. we expect some potential changes this week from the efforts of sampling and analysis both analytic testing and gcms testing. >> there is no one place where the information is aggregated that's you have to know what your looking for to go to the department of agriculture or the state? >> i might not be the best one to answer that. i have spent most of my last 80 days looking at the spill instead of that. i know where certain pieces of that information is. the point is well taken that if
it is an issue we need to do a better job of identifying to the public where they can find information quickly. >> thanks. one question on waste management. you both indicated that oil is toxic. you said that the waste, which i assume contains oil, has been determined to be non hazardous and is being dumped in non- hazardous waste sites. can you help me understand that? >> sure. the waste that is being disposed of, essentially, has oil on it. it arises from shore impacts. by the time the oil comes to shore, most of the organics, the benzenes had evaporated off of it. despite that, we require of bp
and we do ourselves required testing looking at toxicity and other factors of the waste. this is different than no other waste in the country. based on these tests, it has been determined that it is not of levels that would require it to be disposed of at a hazardous waste landfill. >> mr. bromwich, could you clarify this. one of the legs of the moratorium is the spill response. did i understand that part of the analysis is the ability or adequacy of resources given that everything is being thrown at this particular incident? that we would have the resources to respond to another incident? >> that is exactly right. >> however going to do that if everything now has been thrown at this particular incident?
>> that is a major source of the secretary's discomfort. one hopes, and we think, that in the near future that resources we -- will be freed up from biting deep bp spill and should be available, god forbid, if there is another spill. my understanding is that additional resources may be in the process of being manufactured and acquired from other parts of the world. it is a dynamic situation and it may be that more resources become available because they are freed up, manufactured, or brought in. right now, that is not the case. >> mr. bromwich, you have spoken today about the changes you were trying to put into place and safety procedures. you mentioned a moment ago looking at mms's operational
management of offshore operations. a lot of the coverage of the accident has not only focused on what happened in the specific case, but what the ongoing, -- with the zero -- what the ongoing oversight and enforcement has been out of the department. there seems to be a pattern of a very close relationships between the department and the industry that the oversight that the public would expect on in the environment and safety has not been a part of the culture of the department. on the environmental side, the relationship, the sign ticket -- the scientific information that should be available in environmental reviews coming either from the fish and wildlife service or from noaa was apparently not given that much attention or review. i know there is the 30 day
compression that is very problematic in ensuring that it gets full attention. could you just describe what steps you are taking in your new position in the reorganization of the agency and how the whole operation of oversight and enforcement on the part of the department of the interior will change going forward in the offshore operations? i think a lot has been uncovered not simply in respect to this accident but in respect to the way that the whole offshore industry is managed by the department of the interior. >> how much time do we have? >> and not very much, but it is a big issue. >> i did not mean to joke about it, because it is incredibly serious. i have read many of the same things you have about cozy relationships between people in my agency and the companies that deregulate. those are very disturbing to me.
when the things that i have done from day one is to make clear that that will not be permitted and tolerated anymore. we need to be at arm's length and an aggressive regulator and enforcer. i have reports that when there are violations there is a request to improve. that is not the way a tough regulator does things. we will not politely ask the industry any more to fix things. we will demand that a fix things and we will sanction companies that are a violation and that do not fix things immediately. those are some of the messages i have sent internally. i will back those up with specific actions that i will take over time to try and reinforce how seriously by, and the leadership, of the department the interior take regulation and enforcement.
that's why we put it in the name. it is in the name for a reason now. there is also, as you know, it posed a reorganization of the agency which, i think, will go some way towards eliminating both apparent and real conflicts of interest between the leasing side which is the side that wants to push leases and have a lot of drilling be done very aggressively and the regulation and enforcement side. i think that is significant. i think it is a good idea and it was a plan presented to me on day one. i have had some time to absorb it. although it will create some transition and managerial problems in the interim, i think over the long term that it is the right way to go. there is no substitute for clear, and forceful leadership for the people responsible of doing these important jobs to do
this seriously, aggressively, and independently. that is what i expect from the professionals in my organization and that is what i will demand. >> thank you. you know that the issue of dispersants continue to be very, very controversial. one of the things we have heard just yesterday and i have heard previously is some belief that dispersants are being used at night, near shore, on wetlands. are the dispersants being used near the shore? are they exclusive? i think you would be helpful for the public if you could clarify where there are being used. i think there are a lot of questions about just how they are being used. >> dispersants are only being used and applied offshore. in fact, we have clearly stated
that we would not consider the use in nearshore waters. they're not being used in coastal environments, although some of the byproducts being opposed for onshore are toxic. we believe there is significant mixing for the consultations to drop to be much less of a threat -- to be much less of a threat very quickly. we are not doing anything near shore. i have not heard that. we have people that are actually monitoring to make sure that everything is being managed properly for the response. i do see the maps that show where the aerial operations are taking place and they have all been in the short. >> and that is 10 miles offshore? 20 miles? >> most of it is 50 miles offshore.
there's been some small applications that have been as close as it 12 miles offshore, but those were small quantities and that was only done once maybe three weeks ago. by and large, the disperse and activities are far offshore in the very deep waters. >> thank you. >> for mr. stanislaus and mr. henry, can you tell us about the quality tests you're doing for air and sea food? in her travels this week and talking to a large number of people on the ground, they are very, very concerned about having their children go in the water. can they eat the fish? who is testing it? where is it being tested? not just when you are doing but how many locations are being
tested? what is the grid? we would very much like a very short answer now but a more written answer. >> sure, let me take air and water monitoring. there are multiple air monitorings going on. there are semi-fixed a monitoring on the shores. the initial focus of the epa's efforts coming to answer the question are their potential areas on the shore from the oil or the dispersants that could cause a public health concern? there is a spread of monitoring. i will provide more details on the monitoring, the range of particulates, constituents in oil as well as dispersants. we compare that to health based thresholds'. >> my question is which
locations are you monitoring? >> which specific locations? >> how regular? how many? >> it is continuous monitoring. we posed that daily on our website. i can find the specific locations. i do not have them in front of me. >> once every 100 miles? on the shore line? i am just trying to get an idea of -- there is smoke coming from various burns when the wind travels and changes directions or what not. for a particular beach, say, in mississippi how did they know there is okay? >> i can provide the specific locations we are monitoring. we have developed the locations of monitoring to ensure that we, in fact, cover the debt necessary to answer that question.
with the issue of burning, we want to make sure the major concern is particulates. we focus downwind and upwind and with the aerial plans to make sure that is ongoing. we post at data on the web as well. >> is that posted on the map so you can see? can we see the particular level today? >> we have a google map on our website to us that information. >> what about the fisheries? >> the fish a sampling, i would have to provide the details, but i do know in a lot of the regions, the sampling has been in florida and the western parts of louisiana. the sampling is done and this has been a lot of the lessons we learn from the exxon valdez
issues. we have been looking at the risks of both from an accumulation of hydrocarbons for different species. for example, shellfish have a greater potential to metabolize and remove it from its system very quickly. it really comes down to the accumulation of any kinds toxic incident. what must -- but most studies have shown is that the objectionable smell is at a lower level than what would be considered unhealthy by the nature of oil and not other chemicals. the sampling, as it is managed for the seat could issue, is being managed primarily by noaa and the national fisheries service. the states have their own systems that have set up. there is interaction with the groups. the department of health and hospitals in the louisiana are looking at the oysters and
opening and closing the oyster beds. to get exact locations where things have been done for the samples, you would have to ask the national fisherman. i would be happy to do that. >> is there a maps of people can seem where the samples are and how many fish are sampled per day? just to give confidence to people going into a restaurant? >> yes, ma'am of. it is naturally not -- it is after the not the number of fish, but the aggressive nature we have taken to ensure the seafood is safe. my experience has been working with the seafood issues that the industry itself takes a very aggressive role in ensuring they are providing a wholesome, a good product to the consumer.
i think it is a joint two part answer, but the government is doing and the seafood industry is taking a very proactive stance. they do not to have a product that is not wholesome, healthy, not save, not good. that is what we have seen. as far as the specific locations, i do not have the details on that personally. >> you can get those? >> i would be happy to pass that request to my colleagues. >> thank you. >> thank you very much. mr. henry, two questions with regards to research. the first relates to federal funding for oil spill response both the technology and equipment but also trading in the of limitation. i think there has been some frustration that we really do not seem to be up to date on it knowing very much the best way
to respond to these spills mother is the safety and dispersants or the adequacy of of other technology. my suspicion is that we have not invested in that kind of research because there has not been a federal funding source for it and because, frankly, unless there is a huge bill there's not an economic incentive for the private sector to invest in that kind of research either. my recollection is that after the exxon valdez spill there was a funding mechanism from the industry to support noaa research and oil spill response but it went away pretty quickly. could you comment on the need for and the opportunity for some action to provide that kind of financial incentive for, not only the public sector but the private sector to do research in this field so that in the future we have more confidence in our ability to after the respond.
i have a second question of the research after you address that one. clearly, what we know most about how to respond to oil spills is based on what went well with the last oil spill. fort spill scientists, really the oil spill is kind of an uncontrolled experience. like you stated, there have not been a lot of the funding for a very rigorous, robust research and development program to look at it. after exxon valdez, there's a lot of follow up on the state of different oil issues, the recovery of the spill. every year after the spill, the amount of funding continued to dwindle to the point that, yes, i think you are right except for a few novels things except for maybe in information technology, a lot of the tools we are using now were used during the exxon
valdez oil spill or were developed shortly afterwards such as a more rigorous development of a burning which was tested heavily in the early '90s and not really used until this most recent oil spill. i should also say that i was at louisiana state university in a research position and every year after the spill, the amount of money available continues to dwindle. research and development is very important because we like to solve problems instead of playing catch-up during the spill. i really appreciate the question and i hope i have we answered it for you. cracksman agency has done some work and the oil spill response, research and development. it, too, has been dramatically underfunded. as you may know there is a legislation currently pending in congress that would dramatically
expand the resources allocated to oil spill research. it has been done to some extent by my agency, but not nearly to the extent that it needs to be done. >> i would second that. a lot of the funding we have for technology development is a key player. >> my second question regarding research really relates to the extent to, as you pointed out, that this is a giant experiment. the gulf of mexico has become a giant petrie dish in which a lot of things are happening and the extent to which we are actually measuring, monitoring, understanding, and doing research at can tell us more. i have heard it expressed not only in the last couple of days being here, but back home in alaska from the research community, concerns about the lack of transparency in how the research is being conducted, who is doing it, what the topics are, and how the information will be made available not only to the people in decision making
rules but also, frankly, to the research community. could you briefly discussed today for the commission, or have someone else do so, how you are actually conducting the research agenda? he really is in charge? what chord in a mechanism are you using? how much transparency is there? are you using up your review process in defining what questions get asked? i think it is incredibly important not only from the standpoint of public credibility, improve decision making, but frankly for the long term so that we can learn from this tragedy. >> i guess it will start off by saying that the question you are asking is an evolving one from the research perspective on identifying things. we are trying to better understand these surprises. a lot of the monitoring come after, and assessment currently going on is directly related to
assessing the potential for the safe transport of the oil, what factors contribute to that, especially the rate of degradation is very interesting and also because it is a relief. it is a very unusual thing. never has been going into to try to develop models that assess what we think that would be in by validating that by collecting data. we are in very deep waters try to look at hydrocarbons that are associated with the c4 release. we have been doing a lot of effort with a lot of different ships. we have a very aggressive process. there are many other agencies involved. the role that noaa has in the marine environment for the damage assessment, which a lot of data has been developed. they, unlike the exxon valdez
oil spill, where the data was kept very close, they have made a promise that once they are through with peer review, this will open up to the public. i think like everyone else it takes time to take the data from the field, put it together in some type of package of real value. a lot of this is raw data on line in different places, but really to put this together is to tell a story. i tell people that i know a lot about what is going on but it is a mosaic. we have a lot of people actually working right now to take the those eight pictures and tried to put it in a story board to say what we know and do know. from that storyboard, i think we can better delineate where the future research needs to be and have that identified. to have that available to the research community is very valid. we had one very large meeting in banners that -- baton rouge that
noaa sponsored trying to set the stage in engaging the science community to say this is what we know at the present, this is what we do know, what things do you think we should be thinking about the weekend factor into the research that follows to help us explain the overall incidence of oil and response. the research and development as far as the specific research sites is really in an evolution right now. >> i am hoping that one of the things that comes out of the public meetings and hearings we will have over the next 60 days is we plan to invite, pretty broadly, the academic community. i'm hoping we would get some better ideas from that, as well. >> i would like to address that, as well. in terms of toxicity studies that are being done through a peer review process, even in the framing that has been done in consultation, with stakeholders.
we think it is important to have the interim results and we will do that when they complete the study. separate from that, we felt was really critical. this is a unique situation and doing evaluations in the response of making decisions. these are unique circumstances. usually you have time to do the research. we felt the really critical to engage academia, biggio community in a variety of issues. -- engage academy and the geo- community. we want to get to the issues that people have. how should we evaluate that? remediation has been raised. the administrator convened a meeting, i think about a month and a half ago, bringing in various local experts. particularly in this unique
government environment, one of the issues about remediation and people that propose various ideas, what we want to do is look at and get the scientific community as experts in the gulf to talk about what are the benefits and potential harms of remediation which is an ongoing basis and a brief summary of our activities. >> for the benefit of our elected officials, we will start the next program in about 15 minutes. i want to hear from the professor. >> i will give my two questions and make it brief. the first one has to do with, i think you are aware there is a group of distinguished engineers who had consulted with the department on safety issues who had raised concerns that the moratorium in some ways, in essence, could diminish this in leaving wells and completed. the analysis of the new
moratorium, does it deal with this kind of issues to reduce the number, 21, the number of incomplete wells? >> those concerns have been taken into account. in every case, companies are allowed to drill to is a stopping point. that has already been done. secretary salazar and the other leadership in the department had taken those concerns very much into account in making decisions which is why there is a fairly significant last of exceptions to the moratorium to ensure safe work to be done. >> my second question is that yesterday we heard from industry representatives as well as elected officials concerns that permits on shallow water drilling were also being delayed or not been granted. my question is coming to what degree is that all -- has also been affected? the second part of that question is coming your concerns
with respect to the new deepwater drilling moratorium, the third leg issue, the ability to respond to the oil spill? does that equally relate to other drilling that takes place not covered under the limits? secondly, even production activity? >> let me take the second question first. yes. there is an impact in a concern. there was a judgment made by the secretary that those activities are sufficiently lower risk and can continue. that is supported by, again, the wealth of data that has been compiled over the last couple of months. as to the claim that there is a real or de facto shallow water moratorium, that is completely false. there are permit requests that have been submitted and approved by my agency over the last two months.
as i mentioned before, there are two of their now. i think i said there are one dozen applications to drill in shallow water that have been approved. a number of others are complying with the second ntl, ntl 6. the deadline was june 26. those are currently under review. there is no shallow water moratorium and there will not be. >> thank you. >> well, this has been a very productive conversation. we appreciate very much your appearing in the presentations you have made. i propose a couple of points with respect to dean murray's questions about fisheries. i have seen advertising's in the north say, absolutely no fish from the gulf sale -- sold here."
that to be a tragic misinterpretation. mr. bromwich, i would say we do prepare for the next spill with what we learn from the last one. the alaska and the arctic needs a strong focus, i think, as you move a forward. we have not had this kind of events happening there. if we were to have it there, or under the eyes, obviously it would be more difficult and at a different problems. these plans were not region specific. you indicated in the future they will be. i would think that would be an important part of your mission going forward. i completely agree. >> thank you to all three of you, mr. henry, mr. bromwich, and mr. stanislaus. >> can i dispense with the break
>> you are watching live coverage of the commission investigating the gulf of mexico oil spi. this is the second day of public meetings on the spill. the had planned to take a 15 minute break but they have apparently dispensed with that. we are planning to come back. the next panel will be local officials, local elected officials, who will talk about the impact of the spill. the rest of the day will play out like this. at some point, they will take a lunch break which will last until to 30 p.m. during that break, we will begin our coverage from the u.s. house. members return from their fourth of july recess. when the house finishes debate, we plan to return to live coverage of the oil spill meetings here in louisiana.
and the next panels. we may well be submitting some further questions if there are areas that are not fully explored today or new issues arise. similarly, if you would like to contact us with any questions that you might have, we will provide you with a point of contact to do so. we see what is happening today not as one event but as the mitt -- at the beginning of an ongoing discussion as we try to learn from the people who are most impacted by this tragedy and be able to make better judgments because of the information you will be providing as. i wish to extend my thinking. mr. cooper, i know you had some difficulties after day and i appreciate your persistence in that you are here today. we look forward to hearing your comments. since we should have heard from
you yesterday, if you do not mind, we will start with mr. cooper who represents the louisiana shrimp organization then we will go to the panel of mayors. >> thank you for letting us come here and say our case. we had a lot of problems yesterday. first, -- >> could you speak directly into the microphone? .
have a law in this state that defines commercial fishermen. i requested from wildlife and fisheries this morning and yesterday to provide these names to b.p. to go through a data base they have and make sure that we get in here and we touch the right people that need to be touched, because everybody wants to get on this band wagon and get a hold of this money, which is not designed for everybody to come in here. we have crew boats and this is not what it was designed for. so we are creating a big problem. i'm the representative from ground zero and i'm catching a lot of heat because they did call me to go to work. and it created a problem because
as one of my fishermen told me they cut the head of the snake off, which was me. i took it very seriously when he told me this. it goes to heart. we are not just an industry, but a community. we have heritage behind us that we don't want toope l b.p. is h. let's weed out the ones that aren't supposed to be here and get the ones that need to be here. if they need our help, our association to step and i have been telling this from the very beginning, three years of documentation showing that you are a commercial fishermen, produce your commercial license, some shape or form, showing these people that we are truly commercial fishermen because after the fact after katrina, money came down and everybody wanted a piece of this money. so after that is the reason why we did 50% of the income.
we have a data base of names that we can go to to show them who's really a commercial fishermen. i hope b.p. steps up and does what's right because i'm going to scream loud and i'm going to scream louder. they need to listen. from the very beginning i told them this and if we have too many fishermen, let's break it down to 14 days. and i have been working since may 5 and i have been telling them to go if i have to give up 14 days, and everyone who is working out there right now, give it up and let them have them part. and i'm going to scream louder until something happens. something needs to change. we have a couple of different sectors of our industry.
one is harvest ters, they call is the harvesters. we catch the shrimp and our processors process them and distribute them. now, the process is versus till. they can work with imported shrimp. i don't want to be pointing fingers to some that have. they can make money. the ones who aren't doing it, they are having a problem. they have no one else to turn to. they have not received any money to help them. if any part of this link is broken, our industry is going to die. and we don't want that to happen. we need to make sure that every dock, every processor, not dealing with imports, can show their loss of what's coming in, needs to be taken care of.
this third-party money, we have a big issue on this. we had that with katrina. some of the money still sitting back in the states that the fishermen haven't received it yet. so we're concerned on that. there are a lot of issues involving third-party monies. when the federal government gives it to the state and the state gives it to another party. after katrina, five years, almost six, some of these fishermen haven't received their money. this cannot happen now. i tell the world, this cannot happen. we cannot wait a year. right now, the monies, $5,000 they have been giving our fishermen, has stopped. we have to make sure this money keeps coming, because after katrina we borrowed money and i'm 50 years old. i started from scratch again.
now, it's very hard to get up on your feet again. how many times must you ask the people to get back up and go again? we are going to come back. we may take time, but we just make sure that we have the help where it's needed. that is one of my main goals in pushing forward with b.p. we have to make sure these people get provided for. it has to be done. and the ones that are not working, has to make sure they get this money to keep paying their bills. wildlife and fisheries, we seen things in this state that we have never seen before in my life. my father's life. my dad is 74 years old and he's still fishing. my two sons are in the 20's and they are fishing. my son-in-law is a fishermen. wildlife and fisheries closed
within hours. we always had 48 hours before they closed the season or open the season. we had a.m.le time to do what we needed to do. some people violated, which closed over that morning, 12:00, two hours later. you have to go to their website in order to see where the closures are. they have a map and it shows them. when our fishermen are out there, sometimes two, three days, they don't have access to the internet. i can't get to everybody out there. these tickets for violation for fishing in closed waters need to be addressed. i'm going to get with them today and i'm going to speak with them. they definitely need to do something about this, come in and give them a warning and get them out of the area. we don't want to write these
fishermen and cannot write them when they have no money to go to court to pay these tickets. they can't even pay their bills right now. this has to be stopped and has to be addressed. come and warn them and get them out of the area, no problem. don't write them up, go to court and pay a fine for being in closed waters, a very serious fine. what's going on right now, we may never overcome. we as an organization have been fighting imports for seven years, 10 years. low prices have been gone. we are barely surviving. this year, we had a couple of bills passed in legislature for certification of our product. $5 million to start the branding
and this happened. we fought hard. this man next to me and myself, we fought hard to try to get our prices up and this was the year. this was it. we had prices we hadn't seen in years. smallest shrimp we caught was $1.35. last year was 25 cents for our shrimp. our 16/20's, we got as high as $4 a pound. this year it was up. we were getting back to where we needed to be. for them to distinguish what we made last year and the year before last, going to be a high road, because this is our year to come back. this would have been the year to help the docs, processors and help us. this would have been our year. now, we don't know what's going to happen. we don't know if we're going to have next year or this year. we only have may season and
august season. and we made enough money to survive the winter time. without those two seasons, this winter time is going to be hard for our industry to survive. if we can't get help, we can forget about our industry. it's on the last road right now and very disturbing to have this come around like this. i have worked no other job in my life. my boys hadn't either. my father, he's still fishing. >> can i say a few words? >> just a few, please, because we are behind schedule. >> thanks for the opportunity. this is called a hearing and i have been to a lot of them and i would like it to be reclassified to hearing and doing. i got a good friend of mine, george always tell me they don't want to listen to us. they just don't do nothing that we say.
this didn't happen overnight. this is years and years of buildup of the incident -- what happened. what happened? what happened in washington and the government agencies? it's like the fox ruling the hen house. they sent all the same people that caused the problem to start with. and i don't agree with that. i hope to god that we learn from this and we go forward and we can make oversight that works. you know, the only person that lost their job was the head of m.m.s. and rightfully so, but i think this is not just -- there's always bad people in the world. it's the good people that should look -- killers, murderers and bank robbers, we put them in scrail. we have laws in place. we have oversight. it got this bad, that it got
this bad says a lot about what we're doing in washington and what we have been doing with government that we are going to let corporations make the rules to govern themselves. i think if one of the lessons learned from this experience is that we, the people, who voted for a change, you can take this back to the administration, president obama's in office because we all wanted a change and what happened? there was no change. business as usual. and i think it's time for this administration and government in particular to start listening to the people, listening to the people. we demand a change. we don't want this or this kind of government anymore. i'm a third-generation fishermen, i'm 62. that's all my family has ever known. we have been in this -- we have been in louisiana since before it was a state.
i'm an arcad inch an american. since 1755, my people have been here. this is not just a living for us, but this is culture, heritage. and for our government to let this happen, you know, it's like i said, there is always bad people and up to you guys and the people in washington to protect us. that's why we put you there. a lot of these agency people and secretaries come down here and i have talked to some of the people and they think they can walk on water. guess what, public servants, that's what i like to say and we are the public and if you think you can walk on water doesn't hold water with me. there was an incident when joe biden came down and talked to one of the staffers and because one of my friend who was with his sick wife who died, and i
was the acting president and i wasn't allowed to speak. he's not the real president. i'm not going to come in the audience and listen to them. >> sir, would you give me your name. >> clint gidrey. >> president of the louisiana shrimp association. >> the acting president. [laughter] >> thank you very much. ms. charlotte randolph. i should have said a president and two mayors are here. >> good morning to the commission. thank you for your service.
and thank you for being here in new orleans. it's very convenient to us. i do want to begin by offering my condolences to the families of those who were killed in this tragic incident. they represent friends and family, people work from our area work on these rigs and certainly this impacts us on a daily basis. yes, i am the president of the lafourche parish, it is a 100-mile parish populated by 95,000 people. on may 8, oil first appeared on the shores of our parish from the deepwater horizon blowout. i'm going to talk about the shores. mr. graham, we don't have beautiful white beaches and blue water. we are a working coast and energy coast and we have now
endured 65 days of relentless effort to protect our valuable wetlands and our wildlife. birds don't fly. fish don't swim and fishermen can't make a living. the moratorium on deep water drilling adding insult to injury. nine of the top 10 taxpayers are located in our parish, which services all 33 rigs singled out in the original moratorium. we are at the epicenter of the suspension. the spill has december mated the fishing industry. the moratorium and suspension will essentially end life as we know it in our parish. up to 40% of our tax base could be lost by 2012 as a result of the drilling ban. you have heard testimony from rig owners yesterday who stated that they intend to leave the
gulf for other opportunities elsewhere in the world. some employees have been offered transfers to locations in other states. families are now making decisions as to whether the husband and father or the wife and mother will live elsewhere while the rest of the family stays behind to finish schooling. these are the lucky ones. the rest will be terminated. according to the department of interior's own assessment, up to 120,000 jobs could be lost in the coming years. 120,000 jobs could be lost in the coming years. the port has already reduced its rent to its tenants by 30%. in april, 2010, the unemployment rate in the lafourche area was 4.4%, the lowest in the nation. by november 30, at the end of
this suspension, the number of unemployed will increase dramatically. in this country, a whole lot of money has been borrowed to create jobs to stimulate the economy. but the people in lafourche parish and those associated with the oil and gas industry and its support services are not expendable americans. we fuel this country. on may 28, i had the opportunity to personally ask president obama to reconsider his decision on the ban. based on the devastating economic blow we would suffer. he declined. but he did offer to send down an economic team to assess the moratorium's impact on our parish. again, that was may 28. the team will arrive july 26. president obama said in early may, we have announced that no permits for drilling new wells will go forward until the 30-day
safety and environmental review i requested is complete. that was the first intense scrutiny of the industry. some of those commissioners disagreed with the moratorium, yet it was established anyway. the president formed another commission upon which you sit and you have been asked to restudy for at least six months. we will die a slow death. commissioner, you have been quoted as saying that we should immediately halt all oil and gas exploration. based upon the rationale and suspension issued yesterday by the secretary of the interior, i'm asking you to join with me in challenging the president, secretary salazar and the federal government to protect
all gulf states from another spill as completely as possible. stop all oil tankered traffic in the gulf of mexico. are we considering all the risks? or we looking at one industry? statistics indicate that an oil tanker is four times greater chance of spilling its cargo than an oil well has of blowing out. let my make this perfectly clear, the president has said we must -- we cannot risk another spill while all of these resources have been deployed in the gulf. tankers from around the world carrying up to three million barrels of oil, close to what's been spilled by preponderance's well in 84 days, traverse the
gulf. louisiana and offshore oil ports are 18 miles off our coast. they offload one million barrels of oil a day. i am not advocating that we stop all tankers from providing energy to this country. i am also not advocating that we stop all drilling in this country. lafourche is a resilient parish. we have weathered storms, we have weathered good times and bad times with the oil industry. the fishing industry has had its ups and downs. we have survived because we are ready to take on whatever comes next. we can't do it with something we can't control. and we can't do it with what someone is going to take away
from us without consideration of the economic injury it's going to cause us. thank you. >> mayor camardelle, how badly did i -- >> you did a good job. >> i'm from a little town, 100 miles from here to grand isle. born and raised on the island. watched my mother and father lose everything in 1965 due to hurricanes. i'm very frustrated knowing another week from now it will be 90 days that i have been fighting a battle that most of the time i get the run-around and it's hurricane season and trying to watch families battle and try to pay their bills when b.p.'s coming across with $5,000
check where their electric bills are $5,800 and other utilities, it's frustrating. we are like the soldier on the front line. we fought many times through hurricanes. i can go anywhere in the world and fight a hurricane. i told that to the president. i met with the president three times. you know, we asked to put booms out and we were told booms were going to be put out. several miles of booms around the passes. we have five major passes from the gulf of mexico that comes in from the gulf and into estuaries, which produces about four billion worth of seafood, which also is about $2 billion worth of recreation fishing in the estuaries.
two million acres of oysters in southeast louisiana where these five passes was wide open for the oil to come in. so between the elected first in jefferson parishes, we have a plan to come in and put barges. you have seen the barges. you have seen the trucks on top of the barges. we have tanker trucks on top, 18-wheelers with vacuum pumps. we have 56 barges across these passes. in the meantime, remember, it was hurricane season. it's hurricane season now. every time tropical storm alex, thank god it went to the west of us. all the booms are straight out. they were just straight out. after 40 mile an hour winds, we had to take the barges out of
the passes because we are on the front line of these passes with ground swells come in and pushing the oil through. we had a plan. we went to the corps. we had two major engineer groups that came in and got together with elected officials and we got a plan to put rocks across the passes. we went to the corps of engineers. we did everything right. we applied for the permits unemergency. and all of a sudden we get 95 pages of response from different agencies, some agencies i never heard of, coalitions from different areas. but the major agencies work for the federal government. they fight us every day to save our land and we want to do the right thing. the media and wildlife and fisheries, tropical storm, we took them for a tour and being a
commercial fishermen and raised as a fishermen, my grandfather, mother, father, all of us fishermen, brought tears to my eyes seeing oil about the size of a pancake coming through. and knowing there's nothing i can do. 250 shrimp boats catching their slim am. the oyster fishermen from grand isle, knowing that the fisher men, crab fishermen, we can't stop the oil coming in to the passes. born and raised as a cajun, working with my counselmen, elected officials, showing the media where we have rocks to safe us, the oil was pounding
against the rocks and inside the rocks was water and there was no oil. so to answer 95 pages, we had our engineers working day and night. we submitted three days later. and we got denied. we started working again. called the white house. and we made sure that we continue working with the corps. tomorrow we are going to meet with the corporation. i'm asking the board to give us a chance and block these passes by 70%. b.p. gave us their credit card and it's paid for. it's sitting in the river. we have $16 million worth of barges paid for. let us try something to protect these passes and i guarantee you we will save five parishes, lafourche par itch, orleans par itch, jefferson parish.
four weeks ago, they said it wasn't going to hit the lake. where is it? we have a plan. all our lives have been changed. residents, fishermen, tourists, business. the shrimp docks, the ma inast, $5,000, they can't even pay their electricity bill. i'm trying to keep the largest shrimp dock, four million pounds of shrimp, trying to keep them open. you know what i'm doing? i'm begging b.p. to try to buy fuel with them. i got to go after them every day. not only, the barges that were tied, we paid rent for the barges and now his dock is empty. the marina is empty. the bottom line is, b.p. is taking too long to come in and
pay these people. the residents, business people and there are too many chiefs. you got to go through some of them to get these vessels to work. it's very frustrating. i'm going to go on and on, we saved 475 birds off of grand isle in the estuary and found 126 of them dead. the moratorium, please, help us, we need to keep on drilling. it kills us. the tourism, seafood is all shut down in my community. please help us. thank you so much. >> thank you, mr. mayor. mr. holloway. >> good morning commissioners. thank you for inviting me here today. i have been mayor of biloxi for 17 years. we have been through everything, hurricanes, recessions,
depressions, tropical storms, everything and we survived it all. the common issue is we all had a beginning, middle and end. we can deal with that. but we have trouble dealing with is something that will not end. it's a new oil spill every day, every single day, day in and day out. and the mississippi gulf coast, we are more fortunate than most. my heart goes out to the folks of louisiana, fishing and seafood is their entire way of life. it took two months for the oil to get to us. we haven't seen the amount of oil that has been seen in louisiana or even alabama or florida. but the impact on segments of our economy has been just as devastating. with the closing of all state waters in mississippi, our seafood industry and charter boat fishing industries have been december mated.
imagine that for a moment. no state waters in mississippi are open for commercial or recreational fishing. we have a fleet of about 60 charter boats on the mississippi gulf coast. the university of southern mississippi last month issued an economic impact report on the spill. the word used to describe the revenue picture for charter boats was freefall. look at it this way. it's as if you are a taxi cab driver and every street in the city was closed. how can you make a living? you can't. it's the same for shrimpers. let me give you eanch idea of the hit on shrimping. we had 233 shrimp boats in the mississippi waters. this year, shrimp season opened a few days earlier at the beginning of june to get a little jump ahead of the oil. we had 67 boats on opening day.
two days after the shrimp season opened, the first closure of mississippi waters occurred. a small area closed at first, but it mushroomed until a month later on july 2 when all gulf waters of the mississippi gulf coast were closed to recreational and commercial fishing. just before the waters closed, we were down to 40 shrimp boats. this created a domino effect. we have 10 seafood processing plants and unloading docks. let me tell you how they're doing. last year in june, one of them had a payroll of a quarter million dollars. this june, that payroll sunk to $40,000. and july is going to be worst because shrimping has been closed since the beginning of the month. wurn of our plants had sales of
$120,000. this year it was $190 million that is a drop in sales in one month one plant. that's the story on the fishing and seafood industry, freefall. in biloxi, tourism is our niche. we get about four million visitors a year, which is about half of what we saw before katrina. we have 13,000 hotel rooms on the mississippi gulf coast. 30% of the 17,000 we had before katrina. our numbers have been on pace with last year, but our revenue is in the non-casino hotels is down 50%, which is about $26 million. let me say something about 2009. it was a terrible year nationally. it was the worst year since 2004
for hotels. we are in a recession. business was terrible. in fact, this year, our tourism folks expected to make the money to pay back that they borrowed. to make it through last year. when you hear that occupies answery is down and revenue is off that means our small hotels are lowering their rates to get people in their rooms. perception is our biggest problem right now. we have a total of 62 miles of beaches that are open to the public. we have seafood restaurants that are serving fresh seafood. you can fish in our bays and bayous. we are open for business. the problem is people see the national news and they think every place from texas to florida is in ankle deep in oil. the effects of this catastrophe are going to linger for who
knows how long. it's going to take time and money to change the perception. leaders of the hotel industry say that will not all of our hotels are going to make it through this crisis. some of the small ones may become casualties. they were on the verge of coming through katrina and weathering recession. this should have been the breakthrough year. now they don't know if they have the financial wherewithal to make it through this. i don't have all the answers, but i do have some advice and suggestions based on what i have seen and heard. i think there needs to be more local control, local control. let me give you some specifics. we have a string of barrier islands 12 miles off the mississippi coast and a few islands closer in. i would like to have that boom placed around those islands to protect them. they could have and should have been our first line of defense.
we suggested booms, but they didn't happen in all cases and when it did, it was the 18-inch boom and not the 42-inch boom. we asked for skimmers for weeks and weeks. and we didn't get them. when the oil came in, we didn't have them. in the 13th hour, our governor had to make arrangements to lease or buys skimmers. when you see the pelicans, you have to call alabama to report it. i would think local control works better. one thing i will say about b.p. is this, they have followed through on things they told us so far. i don't have all the answers, as i said, and i'm not here to complain. i know my residents are anxious. they are worried about the day-to-day impact on their lafse and they are worried about the long-term impact on how this is
going to change our way of life. i don't think a moratorium on drilling is the way to go. but i know we must have safeguards in place so this never happens again. accidents are going to happen, but our response should be not an accident. there needs to be a stronger and better plan and one that can be triggered immediately and the response needs to be driven locally. thank you for inviting me. >> thank you very much, mr. mayor. several of you mentioned that b.p. $5,000 payment plan. how accessible and responsive has that plan been and you indicated, mr. mayor, that you thought it might be inadequate to meet some of the current needs. how would you alter the b.p. plan? >> well, in the last week, it
got a little better. what we're asking for is maybe to get some individuals from b.p. to talk to these business people like to sit down with them and with their wifes and husbands and look at their returns and same thing for fishermen. i just find it's very frustrating to see in my office coming in and showing me they have an electricity bill for $5,200 and got a check for $5,000 and at the same time have families to feed and continue to pay their mortgages at the bank. to be honest with you, it did get a little better to some business people. but for the representatives to go one-on-one and with my residents it wouldn't take long for them to sit with the individuals. just call by name and make an appointment. boost that up a little bit, because it's not moving fast
enough. we need some help in that. >> president randolph, you talked about the impact of the moratorium. yesterday, the secretary issued a second moratorium and we heard this morning that instead of affecting 33 rigs that may affect now 21. have you had an opportunity to review the new moratorium and have any comments as to how it's likely to affect your community? >> sir, since the initial moratorium was issued, we have received mixed messages. there has been confusion about this moratorium, about who it impacts. we have experienced -- and i know the gentleman said earlier it was not a defacto moratorium but the control is within the department of interior as to the issueance of permits.
time will only tell, sir. the support services industry is totally relying upon this deepwater drilling. and as the rigs leave and we heard that eight of them are leaving already, the support services will no longer have a structure to support. as was said earlier, it's like 33 little manufacturing plants and it affects all the people associated with it. and not just in lafourche parish. the gears for some of these rigs are made in ohio and there are workers on these rigs who come here bi-weekly in shifts from just about every state in the union. it's a lucrative job. it's a job that people feel for the most part feel safe doing. and there are many people involved in this.
this new suspension with only 21, i'm still concerned. >> my final question, could you give an assessment of how much this has affected the financial status of your parish and your two cities. >> well, i have had some figures of how it's affecting our city and the shrimping business and charter boat business, but something that hasn't been mentioned that is beginning to have an effect and it's having a greater effect maybe on louisiana more than mississippi, but we have some health issues that's coming -- mental health. people are getting down, discouraged. they are losing their livelihoods and their work. and i know that there is some
concern about that that i don't think is getting enough attention at this time. the economy is rocking a little bit. we have a tourist town and seafood town. both of those are hurting us. >> i was speaking specifically to the city itself. in a recent tour we took over the weekend in florida, a number of local officials were concerned about the impact this was having on their budgets. many of the communities had already spent their emergency reserves and the hurricane season is just beginning and they were worried as to -- how they would finance the cost should they have an emergency such as that later in the year. >> that's going to pile it on. because our budget was in bad shape from the recession and yow
-- we have been very concerned about our budget. this is coming on top of it. >> and again, we wept through the last five years -- we went through five major hurricanes. this was our year to the money. we had the best shrimp season and also with the tourism. that's the best our island ever looked and in any one of the communities. but the bottom line, talking to our business people and the fishermen in our area, we took about a 75% loss in our registers. and we are trying to keep our beach clean every day to try to encourage the people to come down. but like the mayor said, the whole gulf, you put the television on and you think there is so much oil all over the beaches and we try to clean it up. i get on the radio and
television, bring your families, investment is up to -- and i'm telling these people to stop at your nearest store and buy a swimming and enjoy yourselves at grand isle. i had a phone call last night, yesterday evening, it's very disturbing is, you know, i got a council meeting back in grand isle tonight and it's going to be rough. people like you said, they don't know where to turn. they come to my office and david, if we don't get no help, we are coming to raise hell at the council meeting tonight. we need to get more money in here. we don't know what to do. the waters are closed. let me tell you, it's just like you guys going back home, you get up in the morning and go to your office. picture your office gone for 90
days or a taxi cab driver with all the streets closed. we make our living in the water. everything we do is out of the waters. our tourists come in. minute gas goes up a penny before it started falling down, a family man is not going to florida, no offense to florida, he has a little pay check, going to take those kids and come down south and enjoy our beaches. no income at all, nobody's moving. everybody's scared to come on our beaches. and it's very -- it works on you. you try -- all i tell our people, we're going to take it one day at a time. stay strong. pray a lot. god's going to take care of us. like the mayor said and charlotte, the fishermen are fighting, we all fight for our
recreational fishermen, charter boat captains, they borrowed money after katrina to put their businesses back together. i'm not going to encourage someone to get a loan fl s.b.a. b.p. has been doing good things. they are working with the community. we took a tennis court, we took a tennis court and built a volleyball and the kids get to play tonight just like you go home with your kids and grand kids, let's go to the movies. guess where our movies are at, a screen in a parking lot every thursday night. so, to answer you, sir, we aren't go to give up. but by taking away everything from us from the waters, i don't know what's going to happen to us. i'm hoping and hoping that we can -- we get some help some
kind of way and come across, $5,000 is nothing. and to come in and nickel and dime our people is not the way to do it. and it's hurricane season. all our nurnses are due, flood nurnses, banks are calling every one of our residents to renew. there's just know money. no money. and fighting agencies to try and protect your people when half the agencies never even looked at our areas and never seen the oil coming in. so i want to get on the boards and throw rocks. our people want to do it, go in the passes. let us show our plan. the government doesn't have a plan. and b.p. pick up the tab on it. let's stop the oil from coming in so you guys don't have to ask the federal government. we never asked a nickel from the
federal government to block these passes, not a nickel. and it's very frustrating. and going back, i have 24 messages as i'm speaking now, people, individuals have my telephone number and don't know what to do, don't know how to pay their bills. it's 90 days. tropical storm is going to hit us and what's going to happen is, the ground swells get bigger and bigger. the little booms are out, they break the anchors out. he'll tell you that. nobody has a plan. meaning the government. let us tray our plan. we are born and raised here. let us try something. we got b.p. to come in and give an additional $5 million in case the rocks don't work, to pull them out. this is crazy. we could save five parishes so the oil doesn't get in the drinking water.
are we going to step back and wait? i predicted that five weeks ago it was going to come this way. you know, it's hard. and our budget -- we are underneath right now. i got a lady from north carolina who sent us $81 off of her social security. $81. i got a gentleman and his wife from ohio sent us $42 off their social security check to help us to help utilities and pay people. if we can start on the front line to prevent anybody else rkts let us try something and help us and we can better our communities. we don't want food stamps. none of our people want to be food stamps. we are hard-working people. but we make our living off the
waters. we depend on tourism to pay our bank notes. you have to four months to make it. four months to make it and turn to the oil field. you get off the shrimp boat and go to the oil rig. by stopping drilling, it doesn't make sense. you took everything away from us -- not you, took everything away from us to make a living. and we don't fema to come in and give us a check. we don't want to live off the government or b.p. just help us, help us get through thed red tape. as far as the agencies fighting, give us a chance, get us on the barge and watch us throw the rocks in. watch the oil come and stay right there in that area. as far as the passes, we aren't going to block them all the way. remember 1930, cooper bell was all one island. today, the opening is 7,100 feet
wide. we just want to bring it back and close it to 1,200 feet. we did the studies and models but to have little coalitions here fighting us and have 95 pages when we try to save our lives, something's wrong. i have a lot of respect for the president. i have talked to him three times and he told me he was going to put this commission together, but we need to fast. we ask you to help us move fast so we can make a few dollars to help pay some of our bills. that's all we're asking for. thank you. >> mr. randolph. >> sir, we are preparing our budget at this point in time. the uncertainty is such that the simplest job to the most complex issue in our budget is being scrutinized as to its necessity.
i would like to echo so much of what david said. i had seven minutes so my choice was to focus on the moratorium, because in our parish, it is the retriever wriding issue. but the fishermen are experiencing the same thing and we are so close we should be one parish. when he is talking about the people in grand isle, he is talking about people in lafourche, too. these families are facing uncertainty in the fishing industry, oil and gas industry. where do we turn? what do we do? we received $33 million after gustav and ike to reinforce our pump stations, build levys, to assess our infrastructure.
do we bgerthmake @bcture. do we build basic services. but the loss of income through property taxes, which fuels our economy will be detrimental over the next couple of years. our businesses will leave and follow whatever portion of it they address in the oil and gas industry. so we will lose the property taxes. and again, it's a domino effect. when we lose the businesses, we lose the houses.
when we lose the houses, we lose the taxpayers. whether with it's fishing or the moratorium, our uncertainty, our future is very difficult. >> bill. >> mr. cooper, i have a question about the advisories. i saw advisories in mississippi that didn't make any sense about beach warnings on a very sunny saturday after noon where the beach looked terrific and the water equally clear. who actually sets them? and this is related also to the point that you made about the closing of waters to fisheries. who makes that decision in and is that decision made because of fear of anticipated contamination or is it made after there is some evidence of contamination in the fish or in the waters?
how is that done? >> projection of where oil's going to go and relate to the state. and the state acts on it. and if it sees that it goes into a certain area, it may be open now. so when this projection comes out, they take it from there and close it within hours and so that is a problem. it starts with noaa and then goes to the state. we make it clear, we don't want to be -- we are going to be out of the waters. we need to hear. we are strongly against that. we want to make sure when we get into the port to sell it's good. and we don't want that to backlash. we already have enough problems. we want to make sure everything is straight. by doing that, you are creating bigger problems. even though they say tomorrow, they stop it today.
get out of the area, no problem. and they are willing to do that. so it starts with noaa and goes to the state. >> the shrimping could be permitted in places where it's forbidden? >> sure. it can be any time. i have been here, a bunch of stuff, we want to work for b.p. people have to understand, we are between a rock and a hard place. if we get called to go get the job and we don't accept it, we may be on the bottom of the list. now, i'm going fishing today, doesn't mean i'm going fishing tomorrow. so i'm putting myself in a situation where i can't make money tomorrow i don't know if i will be able tomorrow. by going to work for b.p., yes, i know i'm going to get a pay check. the perception out here is we don't want to go fishing. we want to go fishing.
we do. this is my life. i never had a job in my life. i want to be back out there in the waters. by getting out there, we are protecting our best interest. they have me as a supervisor, i'm running 18 boats around and we try to protect some areas. i was in it a couple months ago, right now we are on the west side towards the mayor's area from back side west of the river going towards grand isle and some areas have it and some don't. we are trying to protect it now because nothing got in there. we i are laying boom every day. i thank b.p. we have a leader working with us, my boss, that actually made fishermen the rule. supervisors. it gave me enough authority to move around and put boom where i
see fit. i know the waters. i know the currents and that's one thing i can give to him and this is the only task force that allowed the fishermen to step up. this is one of the things we have been screaming for the whole time. get us, let us tell you where we need it. we may be wrong, but we know the currents, the water, wind, clouds. how fast you have to get away, how fast they are going to get to you. we can save lives and save our waters. give us a little bit of say-so what happens and we can do a lot. just like the mayor said, they don't have a plan. let us do the best. if we're wrong, oh well. we have nothing to lose because it's coming anyway. at least gives us a chance. by noaa doing this, main thing, we may not have a job tomorrow. they have to stop saying our fishermen don't want to go
fishing. it hurts me deeply because they don't know what we going through. when you do this all your life and out there all the time and then to say i don't want to go fishing. come on now. it's not right. and i heard it quite a number of times. >> haven't heard that one. thank you. >> don. >> first of all, let me just say president of this region for many yea, i know all of your communities well. and i'm very pleased not only through the testimony, but also through the visits that all of our commissioners made this last weekend, we gained first-hand impression of, first of all, the financial difficulties and real pain that the citizens are going through, but also this real complex, delicate interdependence on our fisheries, on our tourism and on