Vitter Urges Obama to Expedite Barrier Island Plan

May 24, 2010

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Sen. David Vitter today sent the following letter to President Obama imploring him to expedite the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ approval of an emergency barrier island dredging plan:

May 21, 2010

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

On May 2, when you personally visited Louisiana and the site of our ongoing oil disaster, you promised that the federal government would be fully responsive and would do whatever it takes to protect our coast and marshes. I’m truly saddened to say that that commitment is being broken.

Two weeks ago, local and state leaders, led by Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser, presented an emergency dredging plan to build up and close gaps in our barrier islands to help block the oil from reaching our marshes. Though an immediate decision was promised by federal officials, that process has slowed to the Corps of Engineers’ and other federal agencies’ normal glacier pace. Over a week later – still no answer.

Very early on in the process, I spoke personally to Admiral Thad Allen, General Robert Van Antwerp, and others to underscore that an emergency, crisis timeline was necessary. But the process dragged on. Last Friday, I was told that permits would be issued in three days, but now seven have passed. Yesterday I spoke to Assistant Secretary of the Army Jo Ellen Darcy, your appointee to head the Corps, who said that an environmental review was ongoing and that she could not commit to any timeline whatsoever.

I find it unsettling that an environmental review is holding up this process when thick oil is now seeping past our barrier islands into our delicate marsh. And the plan to prevent that horrible destruction is simply to restore some elements of the barrier islands as they were in the past. We are waiting for an environmental review when we have an ongoing environmental disaster occurring before our very eyes.

Please stop this tragic bureaucratic stranglehold, Mr. President. Please make this happen now.

Thank you for your leadership.

Sincerely

David Vitter
U.S. Senator

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