Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Gov. Bobby Jindal orders National Guard to build barrier wall offshore

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has ordered the National Guard to start building sand barriers nine miles offshore to protect the state from the millions of gallons of crude that threaten his state's way of life.  ABC News reports:
Eight weeks into the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of the Mexico, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has told the National Guard that there's no time left to wait for BP, so they're taking matters into their own hands.

In Fort Jackson, La., Jindal has ordered the Guard to start building barrier walls right in the middle of the ocean. The barriers, built nine miles off shore, are intended to keep the oil from reaching the coast by filling the gaps between barrier islands.
Jindal's plan to construct physical barriers to the oil has been criticized by environmentalists, BP and the Army Corps of Engineers as an unproven oil-response technique.  Some question the effects the berms with have on natural tidal flows, citing the possibility that saltwater could be channeled in new directions threatening the marsh grasses.  A critical article in Scientific American seems to vaguely suggest that the marsh grasses may tolerate the oil more easily than the salty water of the ocean.

Rob Young, a coastal geologist at Western Carolina University recently expressed his doubts about the barrier walls to NPR:
"The structure that I see that they're planning to build is going to erode as soon as it's constructed, and it's going to have a tough time making it through a hurricane season that's predicted to be a fairly active one," Young tells NPR's Melissa Block. "I just don't have a very high level of confidence that a project that's going to require a lot of energy and a lot of sand and mobilize a lot of people is going to do what they promise it will do."
To borrow a hackneyed phrase from the Obama administration, Bobby Jindal has been at ground zero in this disaster "from day one," and has been begging BP and the federal government for more help in preventing the oil from reaching the fragile Louisiana coast.  Jindal is no intellectual slouch.  From the governor's website:
Jindal was born in Baton Rouge on June 10, 1971. He graduated from Baton Rouge High School in 1988 and went on to attend Brown University where he graduated with honors in biology and public policy. Following his graduation from Brown he attended Oxford University in England as a Rhodes Scholar, having turned down admissions to medical and law schools at both Harvard and Yale.
As Jindal takes matters into his own hands, he reveals a refreshing and fearless leadership that our country has been sorely lacking.  Teddy Roosevelt's "Man in the Arena" speech comes to mind:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

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