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PRESS RELEASE

Governor Jindal on Dredging Plan: Time for Studies is Over, We Need Action
Gov. Jindal Says Coast Guard’s Area Contingency Plans Already Included Land Barriers

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
The Governor highlighted seven areas where the state continues to move ahead to protect Louisiana’s coast.

  1. Protecting Marshes: In Plaquemines, Jefferson, Orleans and St. Bernard parishes the state is working with parish officials to establish a Marsh Fringe Barrier – a combination of plugs and berms – to keep surface oil from penetrating our interior marshes. In Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes, they are identifying east to west canals that could be fortified with boom to serve as a seal to prevent surface oil from further intruding into the marshes there. CPRA is also working with National Guard to look for key points to fill in sand in St. Tammany and Jefferson parishes. Yesterday, the National Guard also conducted a boat reconnaissance mission in Plaquemines Parish to identify approximately 14 miles of gaps in the parish coastline.
  2. Trinity Bayou Fill: The National Guard also conducted an aerial reconnaissance mission with state coastal restoration personnel to the Timbalier Islands and Trinity Bayou to develop action plans for gap fill operations there. Based on this mission, the National Guard finished filling a 115-foot gap near Trinity Bayou.
  3. Hesco Baskets: The National Guard has deployed two and a half miles of Hesco baskets in the Fourchon area.
  4. Landbridges: National Guard engineers continue to conduct maintenance on the land bridges at Elmer’s Island and Thunder Bayou – which have been actively holding oil back from entering interior wetlands. National Guard engineers have filled five gaps in the vicinity of Thunder Bayou in Port Fourchon.
  5. Tiger Dams: National Guard engineers have secured over 4 ¾ miles of the 7.1 miles of Tiger Dams needed in Southwest Pass. In support of Jefferson Parish and Grand Isle, National Guard engineers have positioned approximately 2 miles of Tiger Dams out of the 6 miles needed.
  6. Sand-Fill Operations: CPRA and the National Guard have leaned forward and identified approximately 40 total locations where gaps in barrier islands could be filled with sandbags or dump trucks of sand. This strategy would complement a more complete and extensive dredging/sand booming plan. On Pelican Island, the National Guard has dropped over 1,720 sandbags to date. Six of the eight gaps on Pelican Island have been completed and they are continuing work on the seventh gap on Pelican Island today. They are also working on the first gap on Scofield Island and have filled in more than 785 sandbags to date. The state also requested that BP augment these efforts with private contractors and the state is still awaiting BP’s response to this request.
  7. Freshwater Diversions: The state is currently operating all freshwater diversions they control to flush fresh water down into the Gulf.
OIL IMPACT UPDATE
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.

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