Former secretary defends fish safety testing after oil spill

AP News
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Posted: Oct 24, 2016 12:09 PM

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The former head of Louisiana's wildlife and fisheries department is defending seafood testing done after the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Robert Barham pushed back against auditors' suggestions the work was shoddy, saying he has no question the seafood was tested thoroughly.

In a preliminary draft report, the Louisiana Legislative Auditor's Office found insufficient sampling of fish and excessive spending in part of the $10.5 million seafood safety program overseen by the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries when Barham was agency secretary.

Barham, now overseeing the Office of State Parks, said auditors didn't understand that testing plans changed as it became clearer how the oil was moving in the spill's aftermath.

Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera says a final version of the audit should be released in November.