The New Orleans Province of the Society of Jesus has compiled a resource packet in response to the growing environmental catastrophe in the Gulf Coast region from the BP oil spill. It can be found at www.norprov.org/news/oilspillresources.pdf.
The packet includes prayers, an oil spill policy brief and a study on the spill from the e-newsletter of the Jesuit Social Research Institute.
Also, the Jesuit school Loyola University New Orleans has created a website addressing the numerous efforts being made by its faculty and staff to respond to the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. The site, Crude Awakening at http://www.loyno.edu/oilspill/, features a list of faculty experts who can speak authoritatively on oil spill topics; a blog compiling faculty and staff commentary regarding the spill; press releases and news about Loyola’s involvement; local and national news headlines; and ways to get involved.
In addition, Loyola’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has reached out to more than 1,000 affected small businesses in the area, offering them assistance in filing claims, counseling, and support since the spill began.
The SBDC’s director, Carmen Sunda, recently testified at a Senate hearing in Washington, D.C., on the oil spill’s impact on small businesses. In her written testimony, Sunda expressed the far-reaching devastation of the uncertainty of the spill and provided details about how the SBDC is helping affected businesses.
“The worst part is that it has no foreseeable ending. People can’t estimate the value of their long-term losses or the long-term impact, because they can’t define ‘long-term’–does it mean this season, a few years, a lifetime?” wrote Sunda.
Loyola’s SBDC has partnered with the Louisiana Small Business Administration (LSBA) to staff twelve Business Recovery Centers in seven parishes across coastal Louisiana. Each center is staffed with an LSBA and an SBDC consultant who help with the BP claims process and filling for loans.
“SBDC assists any business that feels that they have been impacted. Our consultants provide businesses with a free, independent, third party that they can speak with on a personal level,” said Sunda.