Governor Bobby Jindal and Plaquemines Parish Officials Fly Over Coast and Highlight Importance of Using Different Strategies in Fight to Protect Coast
BATON ROUGE (May 8, 2010) - Today, Governor Bobby Jindal, Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Senate President Joel Chaisson and other local officials flew over the coast of Plaquemines Parish to assess the impact of the oil spill. The Governor and officials also met after the flyover to discuss different strategies, including a proposal to use dredging materials and the use of “boudin bags” to guard the fragile coastline from the impact of the spill.
Governor Jindal said, “Besides the booming strategy and opening up all the state-controlled water diversions to help divert oil away from our coast, we discussed other options with President Nungesser today that could also assist in our fight to protect the coast. We talked with parish officials about different points along our fragmented coast where we could pump sand to restore our historic island chains while also working to prevent additional oil from contaminating our shore. Reestablishing our coastal barrier shorelines can serve as an important defense against the intrusion of oil.
“Specifically, we talked with scientists and looked at different maps showing critical points along the coast where deploying a strategy of dredging and filling in sand could serve as a ‘sand booming’ type strategy. Over the next few days, we will work with local leaders and our coastal experts to determine which specific points along the coast would be the best, most cost-effective points to use this ‘sand boom’ tactic.
“We are also continuing to work to construct tiger dams, a water filled bladder to help stop oil contamination, in lower Plaquemines Parish to protect seven miles of coastline. The National Guard will start to stand up four tiger dams at strategic locations in Southwest Pass on Tuesday. They expect it will take them between seven and nine days to stand up all four dams.
“The news that BP’s coffer dam faced a set back today and the need to continue to work on it over the next few days further reinforces the fact that we cannot let our plans depend on their attempts at stopping this leak. Just like when a hurricane is off of our coast, we need to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. All of our plans to protect our coast – from booming, to tiger dams and even dredging – will be needed to prevent as much oil as we can from impacting our shoreline. Let there be no doubt about it, we are in a fight to protect our Louisiana way of life. We will not rest until not only the leak has been shut off, but the oil is cleaned up from our coast and our wildlife and fisheries are fully restored to their healthy and thriving condition before this spill. We know this is a marathon, not a sprint, and we are in this fight for the long haul.”
RESOURCES TO PROTECT SHORE
The Governor also stressed the importance of BP and the Coast Guard continuing to supply hard boom and sorbent boom along a predictable timeframe so Plaquemines Parish and other coastal areas can continue to protect fragile wetland areas.
The Governor pointed out today that DEQ scientists saw oil impacting the land along the southern side of the Chandeleur Islands as the tide shifted the oil toward the islands yesterday afternoon.
He said, “Wind patterns could push the oil back away from land there today, but again, weather conditions like this demonstrate why we expect for oil to impact the shoreline repeatedly throughout this event, which is a major concern for vegetation there and wildlife. In our flyover today we saw marks where the oil had made impact with several parts of the Chandeleur Islands. We also saw a helicopter on the ground on one of the islands that appeared to be examining the effects of the oil on the birds and land there.
“We know two aerial SCAT teams and two ground SCAT teams were dispatched to the Chandeleur Islands area yesterday to determine the location and extent of stranded oil and oiled wildlife. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries also has seven boats in the Hopedale area and four boats in the Mississippi River delta area conducting assessments.”