White House Orders BP To Pay For ‘Sand Barriers’

Photo: The Times Picayune

After holding out on approving that sand barriers be built to protect Louisiana coastlines, the White House announced on Tuesday afternoon that it will force BP to pay for the project.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal had grown frustrated with the slow response from the Coast Guard, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the White House on giving the project the green light. (Read our earlier report).

National Incident Commander Admiral Allen issued a statement on his order to have BP to pay for five additional barrier island projects in Louisiana.

“…I have directed BP to pay for five additional barrier island projects in addition to the one I approved last week as part of our continuing commitment to do everything possible to protect our vital coastal communities from BP’s leaking oil. Based on a thorough expert analysis, we believe that these six total projects, which will be constructed expeditiously in the areas most at risk for long-term impact by oil, will effectively stem potential damage to these fragile shorelines.”

The sand barriers will cost BP an estimated $360 million. The barriers will try to protect already endangered marshes and other important areas of the coastline. Oil has already reached areas of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and will reach important Florida beaches in Pensacola by Friday.

Gov. Jindal and parish presidents had pushed the idea of building the sand barriers since early May, but the Army Corps of Engineers had said that more studies were needed in order to move ahead with the project. The Wall Street Journal reported today that Gov. Jindal and others had gone frustrated over the talks to have the barriers built.

The White House had doubts that the barriers would work and that it was “too late” to build them. But after this afternoon’s announcement, Gov. Jindal got what he wished for.

“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.

The oil spill has already killed 29 dolphins and 227 sea turtles according to the National Wildlife Federation.

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