Governor Jindal Joins Terrebonne Parish and Coast Guard Officials for Flyover and Meeting, Stresses Need for More Boom West of the River

May 22, 2010

Gov. says state has redirected dredge conducting restoration work to build sand berm in Grand Isle area

BATON ROUGE (May 21, 2010) – Today, Governor Bobby Jindal joined officials from Terrebonne Parish and the Coast Guard for a meeting and flyover of oil impacted areas off the Terrebonne Parish coast as well as Fourchon Beach. The Governor stressed the need for boom in Terrebonne Parish and other sensitive areas as the forecast continues to show the oil slick moving westward. The Governor dropped down in Fourchon Beach to view the oil impact firsthand. The Governor was joined by Terrebonne Parish President Michel Claudet, State Rep. Gordy Dove, Coast Guard Captain Ed Stanton and Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander Dan Lauer.

Governor Jindal continued his call for quick approval of the dredging plan by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) filed for an emergency permit from the Army Corps of Engineers last week and the Governor continues to stress the importance of the plan’s quick approval. Once dredging begins, sand booms could be built within ten days.

The Governor emphasized that he is not simply waiting for the Corps approval of the dredging plan though and he announced that the state has redirected a dredge conducting restoration work on East Grand Terre – which is east of Grand Isle – to immediately begin constructing a sand berm as called for in the state’s barrier island plan. Dredging was already underway to restore the barrier island in this area under the state’s coastal restoration program. The sand berm can be constructed on East Grand Terre under the existing permit conditions and will help to remove oil offshore Louisiana’s mainland before reaching Louisiana’s intricate coastal wetlands and estuary.

Governor Jindal said, “It is clear from what we saw on Fourchon Beach and Whiskey and Trinity Islands that the oil is here. This is why we have said again and again that this spill fundamentally threatens Louisiana’s way of life. The oil is here and we are still waiting on the Corps to approve our sand boom plan – even after seeing how effective this strategy is at Thunder Bayou, and we are still waiting on boom for some of the critical areas west of the river – including Terrebonne and St. Mary Parishes.

The Governor said it was critical for the Coast Guard to join his assessment of the oil impacted areas so they could see firsthand the need for more boom and other containment efforts in sensitive areas.

Governor Jindal said, “We were glad to have Captain Stanton with us today who is one of the leads in the Coast Guard’s response to this oil spill. We also had Lieutenant Commander Dan Lauer with us today from the U.S. Coast Guard who regularly briefs us at our UCG meetings every day in Baton Rouge. It was important to have them both with us today so they could see firsthand the level of urgency required in getting more boom out to these vulnerable places along our shore. We want to take every chance we get to show them firsthand just how important our coast is and how this spill fundamentally threatens our Louisiana way of life.

“These Coast Guard officials were also able to see today how effective our sand-booming strategy is from the sand bridge at Thunder Bayou that continues to actively hold oil back from travelling further inland. This further underscores the importance of the Corps taking quick action to approve our plan.”

The Governor reiterated that while booming is only one tool in toolbox, it is absolutely essential more boom is deployed in Terrebonne Parish. Governor Jindal said, “We continue to push the Coast Guard and BP to deploy more boom in this area quickly– and get more boom here as well. We also asked BP and the Coast Guard to ramp up the Vessels of Opportunity Program here to help employ our fishermen in the fight to protect the coast.

OIL IMPACT
NOAA now estimates that around 54 miles of Louisiana shoreline have been impacted by oil to date. DEQ has confirmed shoreline impacts to date on: the Chandeleur Islands, Whiskey Island, Raccoon Island, South Pass, East Fourchon, Grand Isle, Elmer’s Island, Trinity Island, Marsh Island, Brush Island, and the Pass a Loutre area.

The Governor also said there are unconfirmed reports of oil on shore at the Grand Isle State Park – and there is also an unconfirmed report of dead birds in that area. Morning flights over the area located huge swaths of oil two miles out – and moving inland.

BOOMING ALTERNATIVES

Governor Jindal also emphasized that the state continues to pursue multiple avenues in the fight to protect the coast, noting that boom is only one tool. The Governor provided an update on the projects below:

•Hesco Baskets: Today – the National Guard is beginning to deploy Hesco baskets in the Port Fourchon area.
•Elmer’s Island at Grande Isle: National Guard engineers continue to conduct maintenance in the vicinity of Elmer’s Island where they closed a 785-foot gap last week.
•Port Fourchon Sandbag Drop Operations: Engineers are filling five total gaps in the vicinity of Thunder Bayou in Port Fourchon. Teams are currently working simultaneously in the vicinity of Thunder Bayou and also on the western side of Elmer’s Island. Engineers have already filled Gap 1 and Gap 5, and they are working to reinforce those sites today so they do not erode.
•Tiger Dam Project At Southwest Pass: Around 90 engineers are working to secure 7.1 miles in Southwest Pass with Tiger Dams. Approximately two miles of the Tiger Dam is now completed and Guardsmen are currently focused on laying out and inflating the lower section of the Tiger Dam along the coast to maximize the coverage area. National Guardsmen have already positioned 92 pallets of Tiger Dam to Grand Isle for future deployment – which is around 7 miles of dam material.
•Sand-Fill: CPRA and the National Guard have also leaned forward and identified approximately 40 total locations where gaps in our barrier islands could be filled with sandbags or dump trucks of sand. This strategy would complement a more complete and extensive dredging/sand booming plan.
As of this morning, the National Guard has now dropped 425 sandbags on Pelican Island to completely fill two gaps on the island. Today they are working to fill the third gap. There are eight gaps total in the plan for Pelican Island and another six gaps that need to be filled with sand bags in the plan for Scofield Island.

•Freshwater Diversions: The state is also already running a variety of freshwater diversions to push freshwater out to protect the shore. The state is operating all freshwater diversions which are controlled by the state.

Use a Highlighter on this page
Bookmark and Share

Leave a Reply