Governor Jindal Joins Local Officials for Flyover of National Guard Operations in Plaquemines Parish, Observes Substantial Oil Impact
VENICE (May 18, 2010) - Following a flyover of National Guard operations in Plaquemines Parish today and a meeting with local officials, the Governor held a press conference where he said that he observed substantial oil impact in the Pass a Loutre area. The Governor said that the shoreline impact he saw today is why it’s so critical to quickly approve the dredging plan he proposed almost two weeks ago. The Governor requested that incident command immediately approve the mobilization of dredges so that they can be in position once the permit is approved and he also said the state is already taking steps in preparation for the beginning of dredging.
For the flyover, Governor Jindal joined Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser where he assessed the National Guard’s sandbag drop operations in Pelican Island and their work on Tiger Dams at Southwest Pass. The Governor stressed that these are projects where the state is leaning forward to protect coastal areas as an alternative to boom.
Governor Jindal said, “In Plaquemines, just like our other coastal areas, we are leaning forward to pursue multiple avenues for protecting our coast. We know booming is one option – but we cannot only count on boom to protect our coast, especially as the supply of boom continues to fall short of what is needed to protect many areas. We are pushing the Coast Guard and BP to get more boom to sensitive areas, but we are also aggressively pursuing alternatives to boom that would help protect the coast.”
Governor Jindal said, “Today we are requesting that the incident command immediately approve the mobilization of dredges needed to implement the sand boom plan. This will allow for dredges to begin moving to Louisiana now. These boats will be in position once the emergency permit is approved.
“This approval will allow for quicker action to ensure that our coastal wetlands are protected. It will also assist in the removal of oil offshore by preventing floating or subsea oil from intruding further into our coastal areas.
“In anticipation of receiving a permit from the Corps, the state has already begun steps to prioritize and determine the capacity of each sand borrow site needed to construct the sand boom. We have boats out today conducting surveys. Magnetometer scans will be used to identify existing pipelines and side scan sonar will be used to develop images of the seafloor.
“Beginning today, sampling and assessments will be performed to identify contaminated sediments and ensure that the materials being used are safe and the receiving areas are clean.”
The Governor highlighted some other alternatives to boom and provided an update on those projects:
As of this morning, the National Guard has now dropped 130 sandbags on Pelican Island to fill the first gap there – which is now about 90 percent complete. There are eight gaps total in the plan for Pelican Island and another six gaps that need to be filled with sand bags in our plan for Scofield Island. Also, the National Guard’s staging area in Buras is now operational – which will allow the Blackhawks lifting the sandbags to make more trips more quickly and help speed up the work there.
SHORELINE IMPACT/CLEAN UP
“Booming today continues in MRGO and the Lake Borgne Areas. Crews are also working today to maintain boom on Raccoon Island, Fourchon beach, and Breton Island.
“Cleanup operations scheduled for today will target: South Pass, Chandeleur Islands, Whiskey and Trinity Islands and Fourchon/Elmers Island.”