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Experts:Gov. Jindal's "perfect solution" could make matters worse

Von: EconomicDemocracy Coop (econdemocracy@gmail.com) [Profil]
Datum: 27.05.2010 21:35
Message-ID: <05ab6d32-9931-47e2-93b1-e664d90195be@s41g2000vba.googlegroups.com>
Newsgroup: talk.environment alt.activism alt.politicstalk.politics.misc misc.headlines
1) Weathers: Barrier plan is "not going to get completed" in time. The
Times-Picayune quoted Dallon Weathers, a geologist at the University
of New Orleans saying, "This thing is not going to get completed in a
timeframe that's on the same schedule as this spill."

2) Lopez: "Need to make sure" barriers are "something that you're not
going to regret later." The Times-Picayune quoted John Lopez, a
coastal sustainability director for the Lake Pontchartrain Basin
Foundation saying, "I think you have to consider these islands as much
as possible in this emergency situation, but you really need to make
sure you're doing something that you're not going to regret later. ...
Obviously this is an emergency situation, but quality sand for barrier
islands is not an unlimited resource in Louisiana, and we would not
want to see depletion of the quality of sand that could be used down
the road."

3) Stone: "Foolish to embark on a project of this scale without
establishing potential negative impacts." The Christian Science
Monitor reported on May 24 that according to Gregory Stone, a
professor of oceanography at Louisiana State University, "[s]tate
leaders are not ... considering questions about its long-term effects
on the coastal environment." Stone reportedly added: "This is a
mammoth engineering project, and it can be done, but it's being done
willy-nilly. It's foolish to embark on a project of this scale without
establishing potential negative impacts on currents, on coastal
erosion, on wildlife habitat, on whole range of environmental issues."

4) NY Times: Experts "concerned" that using "scarce sand" for
temporary gain could compromise long-term restoration. The New York
Times reported on May 21 that "many experts say it is not at all clear
whether dredging companies could build up the barrier islands quickly
enough to save the marshes. They are also concerned that the kind of
sand berms envisioned in the plan might wash away quickly after a
couple of storms, wasting scarce sand in the region." The Times
reported that Stone "said that dredging and pumping large amounts of
sand amid Louisiana's complex inlets and bays could harm ocean life"
and that "any plan required closer study before it is put in place."
It also reported:

The governor's plan would not permanently rebuild degraded coastal
islands -- a delicate and complex process that has been planned for
years. A temporary sand barrier could wash away in a matter of months,
experts said. And the type of sand necessary for long-term coastal
restoration is in short supply along Louisiana's shoreline.

"If we use the good sand that we have for this quick-and-dirty
berm, and a storm comes in and spreads it around, we've lost the major
sand resource that we wanted to use for barrier-island restoration,"
Dr. Reed said. "We could compromise the long-term restoration of the
coast for a short-term gain."

Right now, the chain of barrier islands has very little
protection. Asbury H. Sallenger Jr., an oceanographer with the United
States Geological Survey, said the Chandeleur Islands lost the
majority of their surface area during Hurricane Katrina. Even a strong
wind can push a surge of water over the island, he said.

But Dr. Sallenger, like other experts, noted that the dredging
project would take months to complete, and the oil is already showing
up in the marshes. "My first question is whether such a thing could be
done, from a scientific basis, quickly enough to be useful," he said.

[Via http://mediamatters.org/research/201005270020]

Media falsely suggest gov't is ignoring Louisiana barrier plan
3 hours and 16 minutes ago  5 Comments

In claiming that the Gulf oil spill is "Obama's Katrina," media
figures and outlets have falsely suggested that the federal government
has been unresponsive to Louisiana's request for a permit to create
sand barriers -- or "berms" -- around the coast. But, as required by
law, the Army Corps of Engineers has been studying the plan's impacts
and reportedly responded with concerns that it could push oil into
Mississippi; and, numerous experts have questioned whether the plan
would even be effective.

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Media falsely suggest gov't is unresponsive to LA barrier plan

Rove falsely claimed LA officials have "yet to hear back" about
barrier permit. In his May 27 Wall Street Journal column, Karl Rove
said the Obama administration has "delayed or blown off key decisions
requested by state and local governments" and falsely claimed
Louisiana has "yet to hear back" from the Army Corps about its plan to
create barriers. Later in the column, Rove wrote: "Could this be Mr.
Obama's Katrina? It could be even worse." From the column:

Now the administration is intent on making it appear he has
engaged all along. But this stance is undermined by lack of action.
Where has its plan been? And why has the White House been so slow with
decisions?

Take the containment strategy of barrier berms. These temporary
sand islands block the flow of oil into fragile wetlands and marshes.
Berm construction requires approval from the Corps of Engineers and
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Louisiana officials asked
permission on May 11. They have yet to hear back. The feds are
conducting a review as oil washes ashore.

Fox & Friends advanced false claim that LA is "not getting an answer"
from the government about barrier plan. On the May 27 edition of Fox
News' Fox & Friends, after noting that "some" are calling the spill
"Obama's Katrina" and that "the government response has been pitiful,
in the estimation of a lot of people," co-host Steve Doocy played a
clip of Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) saying, "We're not getting the
adequate response we need from the federal government." According to
Scalise:

SCALISE: Our governor, over two weeks ago, has been asking for the
federal government to approve a barrier plan to actually protect our
marsh from the oil, and we're not getting an answer from the federal
government. All we're getting is excuses. We've got letters from the
Corps of Engineers and others that are saying they need to do studies.
They need to look at the environmental impact. Well, the environmental
impact is right there in our marsh.

USA Today article about "Obama's Katrina" reported that Army Corps
"voiced concerns" about sand berms proposal, but didn't report what
concerns were. In an article highlighting criticism of the government
and whether the oil spill has become "Obama's Katrina," USA Today
reported that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) complained about "a slow
government response to his state's proposal to build a 94-mile-long
string of sand berms across Louisiana's coast to keep the oil at bay."
It reported that the Army Corps and Coast Guard "voiced concerns," but
it did not report what the concerns are. From the May 27 article:

Another Jindal complaint: a slow government response to his
state's proposal to build a 94-mile-long string of sand berms across
Louisiana's coast to keep the oil at bay.

The $350 million barrier plan was hatched by Plaquemines Parish
officials shortly after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 as a way to keep out
future storm surges and could work equally well to block out the oil,
says P.J. Hahn, director of coastal management for the parish.

The plan would take four to six months to complete, but 12 dredges
working simultaneously on the project would bring relief to coastal
marshes almost immediately, says Nungesser, the Plaquemines president.

On May 11, Louisiana requested an emergency permit for the plan
from the Army Corps of Engineers that would bypass lengthy
environmental impact reviews. Corps and Coast Guard officials have
voiced concerns, and the matter is still under review.

"We understand the importance and significance of this emergency
permit request, and it is a top priority," the Army Corps said in a
statement.

Army Corps reportedly responded to plan with concerns that it would
drive oil into Mississippi

AP: Army Corps documents say barriers "could instead funnel oil into
more unprotected areas and into neighboring Mississippi." The
Associated Press reported on May 26 that the Army Corps released
documents that day that "signaled support for parts of the state plan,
including berms that would be built onto existing barrier islands,"
but stated that parts of the plan "could inadvertently alter tides and
end up driving oil east -- into Mississippi Sound, the Biloxi Marshes
and Lake Borgne." From the article:

A wall of sand that Louisiana officials have requested to block
the Gulf of Mexico slick could instead funnel oil into more
unprotected areas and into neighboring Mississippi, the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers said in documents released Wednesday.

Gov. Bobby Jindal and leaders from several coastal parishes want
to ring the state's southeastern coastline with a $350 million, 86-
mile network of sand berms. However, the corps says the barrier could
inadvertently alter tides and end up driving oil east -- into
Mississippi Sound, the Biloxi Marshes and Lake Borgne.

[...]

Eager to build the berms before the damage gets worse, Louisiana
officials said they were willing to delay construction on parts of the
barrier to avoid swamping Mississippi with oil.

Millions of gallons are still swirling in the Gulf. Supporters of
the sand berms say oil could keep hitting Louisiana's coastline for
months.

In documents released Wednesday by the state, the corps signaled
support for parts of the state plan, including berms that would be
built onto existing barrier islands.

The agency said that if the 6-foot-high sand barriers worked, they
could capture oil and allow skimmer boats to more effectively scoop
floating crude.

The section highlighted as a possible hazard to Mississippi would
connect from the Chandeleur Islands to the marshes in eastern
Plaquemines Parish.

AP: Army Corps previously said it was "working as quickly as possible"
on permit request "but still has to follow" federal law. The AP
reported on May 24 that "the Corps said it is working as quickly as
possible on the emergency permit request -- but still has to follow
various steps required by federal law." From the article:

In a statement, the Corps said the state's application is being
processed as an emergency permit. The agency said that under federal
law, the Corps had to comment on the proposal, leading the state to
file a revised plan on May 14. The agency said the information is now
being evaluated for potential environmental impacts.

The Corps said it is working closely with the state -- and will
make a decision as quickly as possible.

Experts have questioned plan's effectiveness and long-term impact

AP: "[E]xperts and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have
questioned whether the barrier system could be completed in time." The
May 26 AP article also quoted Len Bahr, who "served as a coastal
adviser to five Louisiana governors, including Jindal," saying, "The
horses are already out of the barn. The oil is already out there."
From the article:

Some independent experts and the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency have questioned whether the barrier system could be completed
in time to keep out the oil.

"The horses are already out of the barn. The oil is already out
there," said Len Bahr, who served as a coastal adviser to five
Louisiana governors, including Jindal.

Adm. Allen: Building barriers of that scope "is going to take a very,
very long time" and "significant amount of resources" that "might be
applied elsewhere." During a May 24 press conference, Adm. Thad Allen
was asked about Jindal's "frustrat[ion] that the federal government
was not being responsive to the requests." Allen responded that the
Corps was working on a review of "cost and the schedule, the
feasibility, the engineering issues associated with" the plan and that
"building a set of barrier islands and berms that large is going to
take a very, very long time even by the state's own estimate -- six to
nine months in some cases -- and a significant amount of resources
associated with that that might be applied elsewhere."

Times-Picayune: Plan "raises considerable financial and ecological
questions." The Times-Picayune reported on May 21 that, "while Jindal
and the state's congressional delegation have waged an us-vs.-them
battle with the federal government over what they term a slow,
bureaucratic response, the state's plan itself is a work in progress
that raises considerable financial and ecological questions." From the
article:

But while Jindal and the state's congressional delegation have
waged an us-vs.-them battle with the federal government over what they
term a slow, bureaucratic response, the state's plan itself is a work
in progress that raises considerable financial and ecological
questions.

[...]

Though less objectionable to the scientific and environmental
community, the new plan would require dredges to transport sand from a
borrow site to the island creation spot -- adding significant
additional time and costs to the project.

[...]

While many scientists and environmental groups applaud Jindal's
efforts to deal with a potentially catastrophic threat to the state's
ecosystem, there are fears about using the state's precious sand
resources to build berms that are destined to be fouled by oil.

Weathers: Barrier plan is "not going to get completed" in time. The
Times-Picayune quoted Dallon Weathers, a geologist at the University
of New Orleans saying, "This thing is not going to get completed in a
timeframe that's on the same schedule as this spill."

Lopez: "Need to make sure" barriers are "something that you're not
going to regret later." The Times-Picayune quoted John Lopez, a
coastal sustainability director for the Lake Pontchartrain Basin
Foundation saying, "I think you have to consider these islands as much
as possible in this emergency situation, but you really need to make
sure you're doing something that you're not going to regret later. ...
Obviously this is an emergency situation, but quality sand for barrier
islands is not an unlimited resource in Louisiana, and we would not
want to see depletion of the quality of sand that could be used down
the road."

Stone: "Foolish to embark on a project of this scale without
establishing potential negative impacts." The Christian Science
Monitor reported on May 24 that according to Gregory Stone, a
professor of oceanography at Louisiana State University, "[s]tate
leaders are not ... considering questions about its long-term effects
on the coastal environment." Stone reportedly added: "This is a
mammoth engineering project, and it can be done, but it's being done
willy-nilly. It's foolish to embark on a project of this scale without
establishing potential negative impacts on currents, on coastal
erosion, on wildlife habitat, on whole range of environmental issues."

NY Times: Experts "concerned" that using "scarce sand" for temporary
gain could compromise long-term restoration. The New York Times
reported on May 21 that "many experts say it is not at all clear
whether dredging companies could build up the barrier islands quickly
enough to save the marshes. They are also concerned that the kind of
sand berms envisioned in the plan might wash away quickly after a
couple of storms, wasting scarce sand in the region." The Times
reported that Stone "said that dredging and pumping large amounts of
sand amid Louisiana's complex inlets and bays could harm ocean life"
and that "any plan required closer study before it is put in place."
It also reported:

The governor's plan would not permanently rebuild degraded coastal
islands -- a delicate and complex process that has been planned for
years. A temporary sand barrier could wash away in a matter of months,
experts said. And the type of sand necessary for long-term coastal
restoration is in short supply along Louisiana's shoreline.

"If we use the good sand that we have for this quick-and-dirty
berm, and a storm comes in and spreads it around, we've lost the major
sand resource that we wanted to use for barrier-island restoration,"
Dr. Reed said. "We could compromise the long-term restoration of the
coast for a short-term gain."

Right now, the chain of barrier islands has very little
protection. Asbury H. Sallenger Jr., an oceanographer with the United
States Geological Survey, said the Chandeleur Islands lost the
majority of their surface area during Hurricane Katrina. Even a strong
wind can push a surge of water over the island, he said.

But Dr. Sallenger, like other experts, noted that the dredging
project would take months to complete, and the oil is already showing
up in the marshes. "My first question is whether such a thing could be
done, from a scientific basis, quickly enough to be useful," he said.

 D.C.P.

http://mediamatters.org/research/201005270020


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