In August 2010 Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal called BP to provide funds for a long-term testing and a marketing campaign to convince consumers seafood from his state is safe. More specifically he asked BP to fund a funding of a USD 173 million plan to ensure the safety of Louisiana seafood and restore consumer confidence.
Governor Jindal made this call after he announced on 19 August 2010 that BP had agreed to fund a three-year, USD 13 million fishery-resource monitoring plan.
In actual fact the total cost of the “Louisiana Seafood Safety Response and Certification Plan”, which could cover a 20 year implementation period, has been estimated at USD 457 million.
According to the plan USD 276,703,354 would be spent in media purchases for the public education campaign. A detailed reading of the yearly budgeted amounts reveals that during the first five years of the plan a yearly amount of USD 20-30 million would be spent in “ad buys”, i.e. media purchases.
If, for the sake of argument, BP would agree to provide this funds to the Louisiana’s budget, or to disburse them as directed by Louisiana’s authorities, would this a subsidy in the sense of the WTO’s Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures?
I referred to a similar situation where fishermen in Cape Cod where getting “subsidies” from the Pew Group (see my post of 1 November 2009 “USA: "charitable" fisheries subsidies and the WTO”)
Here are links to:
Governor’s Jindal announcement on 19 August 2010:
A letter dated 15 September 2010 from Lousiana’s Department for Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Robert Barham reiterating the call for BP to fund an Extensive Seafood Testing, Certification and Marketing Plan to Robert Dudley Chief Executive Officer of BP Global.
Lousiana’s Department for Wildlife and Fisheries page, which includes a link to the plan