BATON ROUGE, La. – Louisiana auditors say Gulf oil spill recovery money intended for testing to ensure Louisiana fish were safe for consumers instead paid for unnecessary iPads, cameras, boats and now-missing fishing equipment.
The Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office describes the safety program as so mismanaged by the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries that it couldn’t even declare if the catch was fit to eat.
Energy giant BP gave Louisiana millions of dollars for the program aimed at restoring confidence in the state’s multibillion-dollar seafood industry after the 2010 oil spill. But auditors believe hundreds of thousands of dollars were misspent.
A preliminary auditor’s draft report was obtained by The Associated Press. Beyond problems with the safety program, the auditors also say they found widespread financial issues across the wildlife and fisheries department.