Feds Ignored Ideas On How To Protect Coast From Oil Spill
UPDATE (June 2, 2010 at 5:00 pm PST):
Governor Bobby Jindal at a press conference on Tuesday evening announced that the White House will force BP to fund the sand barriers to protect Louisiana’s coastline and its ecosystems.
“We have just received word from White House staff that they are going to require BP to fund the five remaining segments,” Jindal said at the press conference.
In the first week of May, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal had pressed the Army Corps of Engineers to fast track approval for a project that would stop the oil from the spill from moving into the coastline. The idea was simple: dredge enough sand and create barriers just off the shore to stop any oil from going into the marshes. Some four weeks later, the idea has been practically scratched off because according to the federal government, “it would take too long.”
Parish presidents, fishermen, and many residents who were closely following the spill from the very beginning, knew that the task of stopping the oil spill would be difficult. The News Junkie Post was in New Orleans at the time and also assessed that stopping the leak would take months.
The idea of these ‘sand barriers’ had been discussed with federal officials and had finally made it’s way to Obama’s ear, but it’s approval was dead in the water.
In today’s Wall Street Journal, Governor Bobby Jindal expressed his frustration with the federal response to the spill. Here is what one of Louisiana’s parish presidents told the paper:
“He’s stepping outside the box and doing what we need done since we can’t get any help out of the Coast Guard and BP. It’s an embarrassment,” Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser, a Republican, said last week.
It wasn’t until last Thursday that the U.S. Coast Guard approved a prototype of the sand barriers that Jindal wanted to protect the coastline, but the Wall Street Journal reports that the White House has no confidence that it would work and that it perhaps came a bit too late.
No one, including President Obama or anyone in his administration, had imagined that the oil industry would be so unprepared to handle this type of accident. The White House’s early confidence that BP would know how to stop the spill was greater than the confidence it had for Louisianians on the ground who have been coming up with ideas on how to minimize the damage.
So far oil has been found on the shores of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. By the time the relief well is ready, the spill would have reached the Atlantic Coast.
Those working on how to stop the oil spill say that they have been keeping their ears open to any ideas from the public, but six weeks later, it seems those ears have been filled with too much oil.
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