Monday, May 24, 2010

White House: We're on the case! Jindal: Help!

Today's press conference in Galiano, Louisiana with Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Governor Bobby Jindal and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is a case study in contrasts.  Napolitano talked about the enormity of the federal government's response to what will likely become the worst oil spill in our nation's history.  Spin.  Salazar spoke glowingly of the President's response "from day one", gave shout outs to members of the Senate who had made the trip down from DC, and reiterated his "boot on the throat of BP" shtick.  More spin. Governor Jindal wasn't having any of it.  He decried the response of BP and the federal government as inadequate and expressed his frustration that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) had not responded to his emergency request to execute a $350 million sand dredging plan designed to create a barrier to protect Louisiana's coastal areas from the oil.

Jindal argued his position in earlier press conference on Sunday.  From Reuters:
"Silence on this plan is the equivalent of saying: 'we will just clean it (oil) out of the wetlands,'" he said, arguing that the dangers of inaction were far greater than possible risks of associated with construction.

"BP is responsible for paying for this but they should not have veto authority over the dredging plan or any of the other plans that are being proposed by the parish or by the state," he said.

State and local leaders want to dredge sand from the sea floor and erect up to 80 miles of levees, which reinforce, extend and in some cases join barrier islands to impede the progress of oil into the marshlands.

Experts on the coast including conservationists and academics have deep doubts about the plan, arguing it would take too long to implement and could alter the Mississippi River delta's balance between fresh and salt water (emphasis added).
Conservationists and academics (two of our President's core constituencies) certainly have a right to their opinions about Jindal's plan; but unlike the hardworking people of the Louisiana Gulf Coast, they are not deeply invested in its outcome because they don't actually produce anything.  And what possible difference will "the balance between fresh and salt water" have if all of it is so contaminated by oil that it will support neither fresh nor saltwater life forms for the forseeable future?

Some video of today's press conference.  Napolitano and Jindal in the first part.  Salazar and Senator Dick Durbin in part 2.

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