U.S. Commerce Department Announces $1.85 Million in Oil Spill Economic Recovery Investments for the Gulf Coast
April 12, 2011
Contact: John Atwood, (202) 482-4085
Louisiana & Texas Receive Federal Assistance as One-Year Anniversary of Oil Spill Approaches
WASHINGTON - As the one year anniversary of the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill approaches, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Brian McGowan today announced $1.85 million in U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) investments to support economic recovery efforts in Louisiana and Texas.
"In the year since the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the Obama Administration has been steadfast in its commitment to support economic recovery in the Gulf Coast - helping to create jobs for displaced workers and strengthen local industries that are central to sustaining economic vitality," said McGowan, who led the National Incident Command's Economic Solutions Team in response to the oil spill. "EDA's nearly $2 million in investments will help jumpstart existing strategies to accelerate the growth and rebuilding process."
Grantees will match EDA's funding to bring the total award amount to $2.34 million. On Monday, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke was in New Orleans to highlight the Obama Administration's efforts to promote exports to increase the competitiveness of U.S. businesses and regions, like the Gulf Coast, and recognized the great impact these EDA grants will have on the community.
"This money will help fund important activities, from workforce training programs in the seafood industry, to technical assistance and consulting services to assist coastal communities and businesses," Locke said. "Giving New Orleans businesses the extra help they need to recover is a priority for this administration, and it's why we're here in the Big Easy today."
The $1.85 million award to help revitalize the region a year after the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill includes:
- $775,000 to the Downtown Development District (DDD) of the City of New Orleans, the Idea Village, and the Greater New Orleans Development Foundation of Louisiana to implement a marketing and social media campaign, titled "New Orleans is Open for Business," to enhance the local arts, digital media and bioscience industries. The grantee will match EDA's grant with a $193,796 investment, bringing the total project investment to $968,769.
"The DDD's partnership with the Economic Development Administration, GNO Inc. and The Idea Village will help us to reach our combined goal - to identify, import and engage some of the country's creative rising stars through the NOLA One-Way Project," said Kurt Weigle, President and CEO, the Downtown Development District of the City of New Orleans.
- $315,000 to the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board and the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation (LWFF) of New Orleans, La., to fund a marketing and rebranding campaign and workforce training program to aid the seafood and sports fishing industry that was affected by the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The grantee will match EDA's grant with a $78,750 investment, bringing the total project investment to $393,750.
"The EDA grant will help ensure our partnership with the LWFF, Friends of the Fishermen and other regional organizations to put effective strategies in place that will restore consumer confidence in the Louisiana Seafood and Sports Fishing industries," said Ewell Smith, Executive Director of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board. "We are also looking forward to helping fishermen within a six-parish area with financial literacy programs that will help restore as well as grow their businesses. These efforts will also develop conditions to help create new job opportunities in South Central Louisiana."
- $249,769 to the University of New Orleans in New Orleans, La., to prepare a comprehensive feasibility analysis for a proposed seafood processing and marketing cooperative to be located in St. Bernard or Plaquemines Parish. The grantee will match EDA's grant with a $65,520 investment, bringing the total project investment to $315,289.
"The proposed facility and organization will encourage greater economies of scale, which should bring greater profitability to individual operators and help restore stability to local fin and shellfish products at prices that would offer a more predictable financial framework for small businesses in the area," said Dr. Ivan J. Miestchovich, Jr., Director of the Center for Economic Development at the University of New Orleans.
- $200,000 to Louisiana State University and A&M College's (LSU-A&M) Business and Tech Center to provide technical assistance and consulting services through its Mobile Classroom, a business incubator on wheels, to assist coastal communities and businesses impacted by the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The grantee will match EDA's grant with a $50,000 investment, bringing the total project investment to $250,000.
"LSU Business and Technology Center appreciates this EDA funding to provide mobile support to small businesses devastated by the Gulf Oil Spill," said Charles D'Agostino, executive director of the Louisiana Business and Technology Center of LSU-A&M. "This project will allow us to bring our resources to impacted businesses in rural Louisiana."
- $200,000 to the Evangeline Economic and Planning District Council (EEPDC) based in Lafayette, La., to provide training and technical assistance to businesses and communities that were affected by the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The grantee will match EDA's grant with a $70,400 investment, bringing the total project investment to $270,400.
"This EDA grant is critical to assist communities and businesses negatively affected by the Gulf Oil Spill last year," said Stan McGee, chief administrative officer for the EEPDC. "This project will fund an economic impact analysis and allow parishes in Southwest Louisiana address the problems created by that event and develop plans to prepare for future occurrences."
- $120,000 to the Galveston Economic Development Partnership in Galveston, Texas, to conduct a survey to assist impacted local businesses and mitigate the effects of Hurricane Ike and the 2010 BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The grantee will match EDA's grant with a $30,000 investment, bringing the total project investment to $150,000.
"This project will directly affect the capacity building of the Galveston Economic Development Partnership in the identification of tools, information, and resources that can be developed to assist local businesses impacted by catastrophic events," said Johnny Smecca, chairman, Galveston Economic Development Partnership. "Completion of this initiative will serve to better educate and inform other economic development organizations, ultimately the business communities they serve, on the importance of preparedness and planning at the local level for greater resiliency both for companies and the community as a whole."
The Obama administration is committed to helping the region regain its economic footing. To date, EDA has invested nearly $8 million to assist in the recovery of communities impacted by the 2010 BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill. In August 2010, EDA was tasked with leading the National Incident Command's Economic Solutions Team, which deployed 21 economic development and assessment teams to Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Texas to conduct three-day assessments and help develop regional recovery plans.
About the U.S. Economic Development Administration:
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.