Biden in New Orleans: "We are going to stay until this thing is taken care of"

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by Dominic Massa & Katie Moore / Eyewitness News

wwltv.com

Posted on June 29, 2010 at 12:34 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 29 at 3:42 PM

Vice President Joe Biden announced Tuesday that NOAA and the FDA will form a partnership to ensure seafood safety and standards.

"We are going to stay until this thing is taken care of," Biden said.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and U.S. Food and Drug Administration say the effort is designed to reopen closed fishing areas as soon as possible.

He says "we want one single standard so you all don't have to worry about where you fish, if you can fish and if the waters are open."

Federal officials say they have been testing fish for oil compounds so they can ensure areas cleared of danger are reopened to fishing as soon as possible.

Biden was speaking in New Orleans during his first visit to the area since the Deepwater Horizon exploded April 20, setting in motion the events that have led to millions of gallons of oil being leaked into the Gulf of Mexico.

He seemed impressed by the efforts underway at a downtown command post, the first stop on his New Orleans itinerary.

Biden was greeted just after 10 a.m. at Armstrong International Airport by Gov. Bobby Jindal and Rep. Joseph Cao, then traveled by motorcade to the unified command center in a Poydras Street office building.

Accompanied by Adm. Thad Allen, the National Incident Commander, and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, Biden observed the more than 100 BP, government and military officials at work inside the office.

A reporter accompanying Biden said the vice president seemed impressed with the size of the operation, saying, "I don't think the American people have any idea" how many resources are being used to fight the spill.
 
Biden then headed to Pomes Seafood in New Orleans East, where he met with members of the seafood industry.

"My top commitment, and the presidents' top commitment, is to make sure that we save this way of life," Biden said after a roundtable discussion with fishermen and shrimpers.  "It's about families, it's about an entire culture and we need to stop the oil ... in order to save those families."

The Associated Press contributed to this story.
 

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