Coast Guard’s Thad Allen could tell Obama BP should pay for 5 more sand berms to fight Gulf oil spill

Paul Rioux
The Times-Picayune

Gov. Bobby Jindal, backed by officials from St. Bernard, Jefferson and Plaquemines parishes, talks about the sand barrier plan Tuesday at the Port of New Orleans. John McCusker / The Times-Picayune

Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen plans to make a recommendation to President Barack Obama on Wednesday about whether to make BP pay for five more sand berms in the Gulf of Mexico to help protect Louisiana’s coast from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Last week, the federal government approved one two-mile-long berm to be built at the oil giant’s expense to test the containment strategy. But Gov. Bobby Jindal, who had proposed 24 berms totaling 128 miles, said the single berm was woefully inadequate.

After discussing the proposed berms with environmental experts as well as local and state officials Tuesday afternoon, Allen said he planned to make a recommendation to Obama within 24 hours about whether to require BP to build five more berms totaling about 40 miles that were granted emergency permits by the Army Corps of Engineers last week.

Jindal said that with more than 125 miles of Louisiana’s coast already fouled by the spill, the 6-foot-high sand barriers would provide a critical first line of defense.

“The time for studies and questions is over. It’s time for our federal government to make BP pay to contain and clean up the mess it made,” Jindal said. “With hurricane season upon us, it’s absolutely critical to build these berms so we can fight the oil at sea rather than in our wetlands.”

Jindal said work has not started on the berm Allen approved Thursday near Scofield Island in Plaquemines Parish because BP has yet to provide funding.

“BP needs to either cut us a check or sign a contract to get this project moving,” the governor said.

The article, with video, continues at The Times-Picayune

UPDATE: Lawmakers urge Jindal and Caldwell to sue over Gulf of Mexico oil spill

UPDATE 2: Video: Upset Nungesser walks out on Coast Guard meeting

…Nungesser said President Obama promised him a decision by Wednesday on whether to approve the full, 100-mile sand berm barrier plan and that part of his promise included Tuesday’s meeting with area leaders and the U.S. Coast Guard. Nungesser, however, says the gathering was nothing at all like what the president led him to believe.

…”I thought it was a round table discussion as [President Obama] said, to kick around differences and see if we can come to a conclusion. This is not what this is. This is a dog and pony show.”

Nungesser also complained that the Coast Guard had only approved two miles of the berms and that hasn’t even started because BP hasn’t provided the funding.

“I’m sick to my stomach sitting in there,” Nungesser said. “I mean look at my face, my blood pressure, I had to leave the room. This panel is not a panel to decide whether we should dredge or not. We ought to have some of the dead animals in there, some of the people who went to the hospital sick trying to defend our coastline. Instead we have a bunch of bureaucrats from Washington assigned to tear this apart. If they don’t go forward and make BP pay for this, God help them all.”

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