Governor Jindal on Dredging Plan: Time for Studies is Over, We Need Action
NEW ORLEANS (June 1, 2010) - Today, Governor Bobby Jindal attended the National Incident Command Barrier Island Berm Meeting with Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen to discuss the state’s sand-booming/dredging plan to protect Louisiana’s coast from the oil spill. At a press conference following the meeting, Governor Jindal stressed that the time for studies and discussion is over and it’s critical for dredging to begin immediately.
Governor Jindal said, “The time for studies and discussion is over. We need action. Today will only have been productive if we get approval for our plan. Approval of this plan is not a multiple choice test. It’s a pass-fail test and the federal government doesn’t need to be making excuses for BP. BP is the Responsible Party for this spill and we need the federal government to hold them accountable and ensure they are indeed responsible.
“We are in a fight to protect our coasts and our Louisiana way of life. Like any fight, we need to use every tool we can. We have already deployed hard boom, soft boom, Hesco baskets, Tiger Dams, dropped sand bags, filled in gaps with sand, and also proposed a sand-boom/dredging plan to use sand booms to stop oil from getting into our marshes.
“To be clear – these kinds of land barriers – or berms – were already included in the Area Contingency Plans the Coast Guard had on file even before this oil spill occurred. Specifically, the Coast Guard’s contingency plan says: ‘Temporary berms, dikes and dams can also serve as effective barriers against oil contamination of sensitive natural resources and economic amenities.’ The plan goes on to say that ‘The object of berms, dikes and dams is to keep oil outside an inlet because there are often abundant natural resources and economically significant areas that use the sheltered waters of bays and estuaries within.’
“We agree with the effectiveness of these kinds of sand booms and that is why we proposed 24 segments totaling around 100 miles of sand booms weeks ago. Last week, the Coast Guard only approved BP to fund the construction of one of these segments – on Pelican Island, while the Army Corps of Engineers had approved a total of six segments. Today, we pointed out again to the Coast Guard that the effectiveness of sand booms – or berms – is already clearly laid out in the Area Contingency Plans that were on file with the Coast Guard even before this spill.”
Governor Jindal highlighted the effectiveness of sand-booming to protect the coast. The Governor said, “To give you an idea how sand booming will be effective in our fight to protect our coast from this oil, CPRA estimates that about 100 miles of barrier islands will help protect about 4,000 miles of our shoreline. We could have already constructed around 10 miles of this sand boom if our plan had been approved three weeks ago when we first submitted it – on May 11th.
“According to NOAA, about 126 miles of our coastline has now been impacted by oil. Again – this is why we need to be fighting this oil 15 to 20 miles off of our coast and not up in the fragile marshland.
The Governor emphasized that in his meeting with President Obama, the President noted it would take two to three days to make a decision on having BP pay for the other five segments.
Governor Jindal said, “When we met with the President on Friday, we discussed the importance of our sand-boom plan and we shared with him our frustration with waiting for weeks after we first submitted the plan just to get approval to begin construction on one segment while six of the 24 were authorized. The President told us Friday that within two to three days federal officials would make a decision about whether or not they will force BP to pay for the other five segments of the plan that the Army Corps of Engineers already approved.
“We are frustrated that it took two weeks to get any kind of response. We are frustrated that the federal government then only agreed to make BP pay for one segment while the Corps approved six segments for construction. We are frustrated that they said the other five would not be approved because they needed to ensure the ‘effectiveness’ of sand-boom even through the Area Contingency Plan already calls sand-booming an ‘effective’ measure.
The Governor said he was frustrated that BP has yet to provide the funds to start work on the first approved segment. Governor Jindal said, “Even on this one approved segment, we are frustrated that BP has still not given us the funds we need to begin construction – or started work on the segment themselves. We are asking the Coast Guard to step in and force them to immediately give the state the funds we need to begin work or have them begin doing the work directly themselves. We need to get to work. We need to be out there protecting our shores – not holding more meetings to discuss ideas. We are calling on them to get started on this segment today. Let’s get to work today.”
The Governor reiterated his call for the Coast Guard and the federal government to force BP to pay for the remaining five segments that have been approved.
Governor Jindal said, “Today, we are also calling on the Coast Guard and the federal government again to force BP to pay for the remaining 5 segments already approved – and then our entire 24-segment plan from the northern Chandeleurs to the Isle Dernieres chain. Our entire coast is important. The top kill failed. We know this will be a marathon for Louisiana and we cannot allow the federal government to make excuses for BP. BP is the responsible party but we need the federal government to ensure they are responsible.”
SEVEN AREAS FOR STATE PROACTIVE ACTION
Today, DEQ confirmed shoreline impacts at South Pass, Pilot Bayou/Johnson Pass, Pass a Loutre/Redfish Bay, the Chandeleur Islands, Grand Isle/Elmer’s Island, Grand Terre Island, Brush Island, Lake Raccourci, Chenier au Tigre, Trinity Island, Fourchon Beach, Timbalier Bay, Shoreline of Lake Felicity, and Marsh Island.
In the last 24 hours, the state has just received only 10,500 feet of hard boom.