Politico Gives Jindal A Pass On Oil Spill Response

Blog ››› ››› JOCELYN FONG

In an article titled, "Bobby Jindal hammers President Obama on drilling," Politico reports that the Louisiana governor attacked Obama's response to the BP oil spill in an NBC interview today. From the article:

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal used a TV appearance Wednesday morning marking the first anniversary of the BP oil spill not only to tout the progress his state has made but also to attack President Barack Obama's response to the spill and his policies more broadly.


As he touted his state's progress, he once again criticized the Obama administration for its moratorium last summer on deepwater drilling. "One of the side effects, one of the things we need to recover from is the administration imposed a one-size-fits-all moratorium after the spill," he said. "We want drilling to be done safely but we don't want to lose thousands of jobs down here."

But the Politico article didn't mention that the signature piece of Jindal's own response to the oil spill is widely seen as a failure and a waste of time and money.

During the spill, Jindal repeatedly attacked the Obama administration for not immediately approving his plan to build sand berms to block the oil, stating in June that "The time for studies and discussion is over." In July, the New York Times reported that "almost two dozen coastal scientists from Louisiana and around the country have urged the federal government to halt the construction of sand berms in the gulf, calling the project ineffective in the fight against the oil and a waste of resources that could have heavy environmental consequences."

In October, Greenwire reported that Louisiana continued to build the berms despite ongoing concerns among scientists (via Nexis):

Though many scientists say that oil from the Gulf of Mexico spill is dispersed too widely by now to be captured by sand berms, Louisiana is still building the structures to capture oil.

"It certainly would have no impact on the diluted oil, which is what we're talking about now," said Larry McKinney, who leads the Gulf of Mexico research center at Texas A&M University. "The probability of their being effective right now is pretty low."

The state has built 10 miles of berms since June with sand dredged from the Gulf as Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) has pushed for federal officials to approve the project. The state is now working on a 22-mile berm project on BP PLC's dime, decreased from an originally proposed 40-mile plan after scientists said they were concerned that the berms would harm estuary ecosystems.

Berms have so far captured 1,000 barrels of oil, what one cleanup company's president called a "paltry" number compared with the 5 million barrels of oil that are believed to have spilled into the Gulf as a result of the Deepwater Horizon explosion in April. Other activities such as burning and skimming, and BP's work at capturing oil at the wellhead, have been more effective in terms of barrels of oil captured.

Later, the staff of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill declared that the sand berm project had failed to effectively contain oil. It had taken Jindal until November to redirect the remaining funds for the project to coastal restoration efforts.

Posted In
Environment & Science, Drilling
Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill
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