Governor Jindal Joins Terrebonne Parish and Coast Guard Officials for Flyover and Meeting, Stresses Need for More Boom West of the River
BATON ROUGE (May 21, 2010) - Today, Governor Bobby Jindal joined officials from Terrebonne Parish and the Coast Guard for a meeting and flyover of oil impacted areas off the Terrebonne Parish coast as well as Fourchon Beach. The Governor stressed the need for boom in Terrebonne Parish and other sensitive areas as the forecast continues to show the oil slick moving westward. The Governor dropped down in Fourchon Beach to view the oil impact firsthand. The Governor was joined by Terrebonne Parish President Michel Claudet, State Rep. Gordy Dove, Coast Guard Captain Ed Stanton and Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander Dan Lauer.
Governor Jindal continued his call for quick approval of the dredging plan by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) filed for an emergency permit from the Army Corps of Engineers last week and the Governor continues to stress the importance of the plan’s quick approval. Once dredging begins, sand booms could be built within ten days.
The Governor emphasized that he is not simply waiting for the Corps approval of the dredging plan though and he announced that the state has redirected a dredge conducting restoration work on East Grand Terre – which is east of Grand Isle – to immediately begin constructing a sand berm as called for in the state’s barrier island plan. Dredging was already underway to restore the barrier island in this area under the state’s coastal restoration program. The sand berm can be constructed on East Grand Terre under the existing permit conditions and will help to remove oil offshore Louisiana’s mainland before reaching Louisiana’s intricate coastal wetlands and estuary.
Governor Jindal said, “It is clear from what we saw on Fourchon Beach and Whiskey and Trinity Islands that the oil is here. This is why we have said again and again that this spill fundamentally threatens Louisiana's way of life. The oil is here and we are still waiting on the Corps to approve our sand boom plan – even after seeing how effective this strategy is at Thunder Bayou, and we are still waiting on boom for some of the critical areas west of the river – including Terrebonne and St. Mary Parishes.
The Governor said it was critical for the Coast Guard to join his assessment of the oil impacted areas so they could see firsthand the need for more boom and other containment efforts in sensitive areas.
Governor Jindal said, “We were glad to have Captain Stanton with us today who is one of the leads in the Coast Guard’s response to this oil spill. We also had Lieutenant Commander Dan Lauer with us today from the U.S. Coast Guard who regularly briefs us at our UCG meetings every day in Baton Rouge. It was important to have them both with us today so they could see firsthand the level of urgency required in getting more boom out to these vulnerable places along our shore. We want to take every chance we get to show them firsthand just how important our coast is and how this spill fundamentally threatens our Louisiana way of life.
“These Coast Guard officials were also able to see today how effective our sand-booming strategy is from the sand bridge at Thunder Bayou that continues to actively hold oil back from travelling further inland. This further underscores the importance of the Corps taking quick action to approve our plan.”
The Governor reiterated that while booming is only one tool in toolbox, it is absolutely essential more boom is deployed in Terrebonne Parish. Governor Jindal said, “We continue to push the Coast Guard and BP to deploy more boom in this area quickly– and get more boom here as well. We also asked BP and the Coast Guard to ramp up the Vessels of Opportunity Program here to help employ our fishermen in the fight to protect the coast.
The Governor also said there are unconfirmed reports of oil on shore at the Grand Isle State Park – and there is also an unconfirmed report of dead birds in that area. Morning flights over the area located huge swaths of oil two miles out – and moving inland.
Governor Jindal also emphasized that the state continues to pursue multiple avenues in the fight to protect the coast, noting that boom is only one tool. The Governor provided an update on the projects below:
As of this morning, the National Guard has now dropped 425 sandbags on Pelican Island to completely fill two gaps on the island. Today they are working to fill the third gap. There are eight gaps total in the plan for Pelican Island and another six gaps that need to be filled with sand bags in the plan for Scofield Island.