Governor Jindal: Failure Not An Option In The War Against Oil Spill
GRAND ISLE (June 15, 2010) - Today, Governor Bobby Jindal took a boat out to Bay Jimmy off of Grand Isle to see the heavy oil that has now moved into Barataria Bay, threatening a rich estuary that is one of the best fishing areas in the state and the country. Governor Jindal joined Grand Isle Mayor David Carmedelle and other local officials at a press conference following the trip to Bay Jimmy to highlight the need for more urgency and action from the federal/BP response.
Governor Jindal said, “The oil we saw today in Bay Jimmy is thick, heavy, black crude. It is killing the marsh and we even saw dead crabs and dead fish. On a normal day, there would be dozens of shrimp boats and fishing boats out there with big catches, but instead we had vacuum barge operations working to suction up the heavy oil that is now coating this important wildlife habitat. This spill is having a direct impact on our way of life.
“When I met with the President in Mississippi yesterday, I stressed to him again that we need the federal government and BP to intensify their efforts and treat this oil spill like a war. We need to be using everything we have in this fight to save our coast. The U.S. Coast Guard told us on Saturday that they could deploy more skimmers, but that could take four to five weeks. They said they could increase boats in the Vessels of Opportunity Program, but there is a lack of situational awareness due to airspace limitations. We need results. We are in a war to protect our coast and failure is not an option.
“We need the Coast Guard to deploy all the resources they have – including military air traffic control assets if needed. Federal officials could also relax regulations to free up non-essential oil fighting resources from ports and refineries – as we have suggested before. We cannot simply wait and hope for the best. We need action to win this war.
“Right here in Grand Isle, Mayor Carmedelle has been working on the development of a rocks and barge plan to narrow the passes to the east and west of Grand Isle for weeks now. The Mayor and I met with the President over a week ago about this and we stressed the importance of the Coast Guard approving the use of these rocks and barges quickly in order to help block oil coming into the passes to Barataria Bay. Today, we saw heavy black oil in this area. This is after we first asked for hard ocean boom to protect this area, then multiple skimmers. Neither of those resources came. The Mayor is now working to get the Army Corps of Engineer’s final approval for the rock and barge plan because we absolutely must do something to protect the bay. While the Coast Guard gave their sign off for this plan in two of the passes into Barataria Bay – Coup Abel Pass and Four Bayou Pass, we still need their approval on the plan to block off the other three passes – Caminada Pass, Barataria Pass, and Pass Ronquille. Doing nothing – or waiting and just hoping for the best – is not an option.”
The Governor also gave an update on the state’s use of vacuum barges, which the state created in order to speed along clean up efforts in the marsh on beaches.
Governor Jindal said, “In Plaquemines Parish, the National Guard’s oil suction operations are ongoing and they are using a military and a civilian vacuum barge. These two barges have removed over 10,350 gallons of oil to date. The National Guard now has 11 operational vacuum barges and they are working to outfit an additional four systems. We are also asking the Coast Guard to approve the use of an additional 14 vacuum barges. We know these operations are effective and we are pushing to get them into every area where they can help protect our marshes and our shores.”
Sand Boom/Dredge Update
The required pre-construction field surveys including island surveys and wildlife observation are currently underway for the segment E4 and W9 - Pelican Island.
Update on Additional State Proactive Actions