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More than Half of Hazardous Materials Responders in Louisiana Are Local Hires

Release Date: 1/10/2006
Contact Information: For more information contact the Office of External Affairs at (214) 665-2200.

For more information, contact Cynthia Fanning (EPA), 504-731-8680 or Chad Saylor (USCG), 252-267-3662 or Darin Mann (DEQ), 225-219-0860

     Metairie, La. - According to data current through Dec. 24, 2005, the Unified Command of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Coast Guard and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality has a workforce of 1,004 people in southern Louisiana assisting in hazardous materials response and removal.  Of those, 550 workers were hired from the local workforce.

     "I am pleased to provide opportunities for local people to participate in Louisiana's recovery," EPA Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene said.  "We benefit from local workers' knowledge of the area, the workers contribute to Louisiana's economy, and families help the area continue the return to normal.  It's a win-win for everyone."  

     Most local hiring has been done by environmental contractors and subcontractors employed by the Unified Command.  Some workers are helping collect household hazardous waste, processing white goods, and preparing electronic waste for recycling.  Others are retrieving orphan containers from delicate wetlands and marshes.  Some are scientists and technicians helping keep environmental information up to date. Total workforce numbers vary from day to day as response needs change.

     The response effort also supports Louisiana's businesses.  One contractor has used local firms and services to provide equipment and supplies.  To date, its purchases total more than $1.1 million.  Contractor employees working with hazardous materials receive health and safety training, which can be a valuable resume-builder. In addition, about 60 people are employed by a woman-owned small business.

     As of Jan. 5, the response has disposed more than 5.8 million pounds of hazardous waste and collected more than 1.4 million containers.  Workers have extracted Freon from almost 226,000 white goods (such as refrigerators, freezers and air conditioners).  More than 96,000 pieces of electronic waste such as TVs, computers and stereos have been collected.  We are recycling as much of this material as possible.

     Contractors who wish to know how EPA handles hurricane vendor inquiries should visit For more information about the hurricane response efforts, please visit,, or