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Jun 15, 2010
Governor Jindal: Failure Not An Option In The War Against Oil Spill

GRAND ISLE – Today, Governor Bobby Jindal took a boat out to Bay Jimmy off of Grand Isle to see the heavy oil that has now moved into Barataria Bay, threatening a rich estuary that is one of the best fishing areas in the state and the country.  Governor Jindal joined Grand Isle Mayor David Carmedelle and other local officials at a press conference following the trip to Bay Jimmy to highlight the need for more urgency and action from the federal/BP response.

Governor Jindal said, “The oil we saw today in Bay Jimmy is thick, heavy, black crude. It is killing the marsh and we even saw dead crabs and dead fish. On a normal day, there would be dozens of shrimp boats and fishing boats out there with big catches, but instead we had vacuum barge operations working to suction up the heavy oil that is now coating this important wildlife habitat.  This spill is having a direct impact on our way of life.

“When I met with the President in Mississippi yesterday, I stressed to him again that we need the federal government and BP to intensify their efforts and treat this oil spill like a war. We need to be using everything we have in this fight to save our coast. The U.S. Coast Guard told us on Saturday that they could deploy more skimmers, but that could take four to five weeks. They said they could increase boats in the Vessels of Opportunity Program, but there is a lack of situational awareness due to airspace limitations. We need results. We are in a war to protect our coast and failure is not an option.

“We need the Coast Guard to deploy all the resources they have – including military air traffic control assets if needed. Federal officials could also relax regulations to free up non-essential oil fighting resources from ports and refineries – as we have suggested before. We cannot simply wait and hope for the best. We need action to win this war.

“Right here in Grand Isle, Mayor Carmedelle has been working on the development of a rocks and barge plan to narrow the passes to the east and west of Grand Isle for weeks now. The Mayor and I met with the President over a week ago about this and we stressed the importance of the Coast Guard approving the use of these rocks and barges quickly in order to help block oil coming into the passes to Barataria Bay. Today, we saw heavy black oil in this area. This is after we first asked for hard ocean boom to protect this area, then multiple skimmers. Neither of those resources came. The Mayor is now working to get the Army Corps of Engineer’s final approval for the rock and barge plan because we absolutely must do something to protect the bay. While the Coast Guard gave their sign off for this plan in two of the passes into Barataria Bay – Coup Abel Pass and Four Bayou Pass, we still need their approval on the plan to block off the other three passes – Caminada Pass, Barataria Pass, and Pass Ronquille. Doing nothing – or waiting and just hoping for the best – is not an option.”

The Governor also gave an update on the state’s use of vacuum barges, which the state created in order to speed along clean up efforts in the marsh on beaches.

Governor Jindal said, “In Plaquemines Parish, the National Guard’s oil suction operations are ongoing and they are using a military and a civilian vacuum barge.  These two barges have removed over 10,350 gallons of oil to date. The National Guard now has 11 operational vacuum barges and they are working to outfit an additional four systems. We are also asking the Coast Guard to approve the use of an additional 14 vacuum barges. We know these operations are effective and we are pushing to get them into every area where they can help protect our marshes and our shores.”

Sand Boom/Dredge Update

Governor Jindal said the submerged pipeline for the N. Chandeluers dredging operation is in place from Hewes Point, the sand source for the work, to the sand placement area in the Chandeluers. The dredge in the N. Chandeluers is now actively working to pump sand on that island to begin creating the sand boom protection there.

The required pre-construction field surveys including island surveys and wildlife observation are currently underway for the segment E4 and W9 - Pelican Island. 

Update on Additional State Proactive Actions

East Grand Terre Dredging: The state is continuing to operate dredging/sand boom project at East Grande Terre Island by Grand Isle.

Protecting Marshes: Orleans, Terrebonne and St. Bernard parishes are working with the state to establish a Marsh Fringe Barrier – a combination of plugs and berms.

Hesco Baskets: The National Guard has deployed two and a half miles of Hesco baskets in Fourchon. In Cameron Parish, the National Guard has deployed more than 3,800 feet of HESCO barrier on the shoreline – and they are working to complete a total of eight miles.

Landbridges: National Guard engineers are maintaining the landbridges at Elmer’s Island and Thunder Bayou – where they have already filled five gaps in the vicinity of Thunder Bayou in Port Fourchon.

Tigers Dams: National Guard engineers have finished the 7.1 miles of Tiger Dam needed in Southwest Pass. In support of Jefferson Parish and Grand Isle, National Guard engineers have positioned approximately 7.8 miles of double layer barrier.  On Elmer’s Island, the National Guard has placed around 2,000 feet of Tiger Dam.

Sand-Fill Operations: On Pelican Island, the National Guard has dropped over 3,300 sandbags to date – completing eight of the eight gaps. They are also working on three of the six gaps on Scofield Island and have filled in more than 5,600 sandbags there to date. In Plaquemines Parish, Guardsmen have completed emplacing small sandbags in six locations to reinforce the retention levee.

Freshwater Diversions: The state is currently operating all state freshwater diversions.

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