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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sand berm dredging halted

Governor Bobby Jindal, center, flanked by St. Bernard Parsih Preident Craig Taffaro and Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungessor, stands at the end of a dredge pipe called a spreader. It is out of this pipe that dredged sand flows to create new land where there was once open water near the Chandeleur Islands Wednesday, June 23, 2010. Governor Jindal says the federal government has shut down the dredging operation.

A day after being told by the federal government that the state had to halt its construction of an oil protection berm at the northern reaches of the Chandeleur Islands, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and other coastal leaders urged the Obama administration to let work continue as contractors shift their dredging to an alternative site over the next week.

Jindal said the state has agreed to move the dredges a mile farther offshore, but doesn't understand why dredging can't continue until that work is complete.

Officials with the Interior Department in Washington said they have already given the state more than a week to get sand from a more distant borrow site, and that continuing to dredge in the current location could pose long-term risks for the current barrier island system.

After a helicopter tour of the newly created land near the Chandeleur chain, which has been withering away due to a succession of hurricanes over the past decade, Jindal scoffed at the federal government's concerns.

"We've been losing 300 feet every year off these islands. Where has the federal government been?" he asked. "They haven't spent a dollar to protect these islands. We haven't heard from them before today about any concern about these islands or this area. All of a sudden now that we're building new land to protect our coast, they're worried about a hypothetical consequence?"

The state has pushed the plan to add the berms to help fight the encroaching oil from the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Meixco.

The state shut down dredging operations Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. Contractors are now working to extend the pipe a mile farther out to the alternative sand borrow site. Once that is done, likely within seven days, the state will be able to proceed with the dredging.

Garret Graves, Jindal's coastal advisor, said the current borrow site is permitted by the Army Corps of Engineers and that moving to the more distant borrow sites was a "verbal condition" that the federal government gave after the permit was approved.

Jindal pointed out that the state is willing to backfill the hole they are digging now "within weeks, not months."

The concern with the current borrow site is that sand circulating in the island system could become trapped in the borrow pit, thus accelerating land loss throughout the Chandeleur chain. The federal government believes a site farther offshore would pose less of a risk.

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Mayberry said...

I wish Jindal would grow a pair. I wish he'd order the continuance of dredging, and tell Obammy where to go. Y'all have got to protect the estuaries, or it's game over. Our barrier island chain is the only thing that saved Texas from the Ixtoc spill. The passes were boomed or blocked with sand, and the oil couldn't get into the bays and estuaries. Y'all don't have that luxury over there. God help y'all if a hurricane comes...

Rhino said...

Thanks for the comment mayberry,I may need a guest post on your sayin what I wanna site to really say what I feel,but first I need to get my own house in order cause I fear this is the end game .

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