Gulf-oil spill money report questions Louisiana fish safety testing

File: A sick fish that experts say was likely poisoned by the Deepwater Horizons oil spill in 2013. (CBS News)
File: A sick fish that experts say was likely poisoned by the Deepwater Horizons oil spill in 2013. (CBS News)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana auditors say Gulf oil spill recovery money that was supposed to be used for testing if Louisiana fish were safe to eat was 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 for the program aimed at restoring confidence in the state’s seafood industry after the 2010 spill. A draft audit obtained by The Associated Press suggests part of the money was misspent, along with other widespread financial issues in the department.

The former secretary of the agency, Robert Barham, says the draft report contains “factual errors” and he’s drawing up a formal response.

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