Sunday, July 11, 2010

Bobby Jindal's games

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is developing a pattern: come up with a crackpot plan to block the oil washing up in his state.

Then have the experts look at it and say it may be worse than doing nothing.

Then whine because the feds haven't approved it yet.

We saw it in his sand berms project. Now he doing it again, as Chris Kirkham reports for the New Orleans Times-Picayune in Battle over plan to set up rock dikes looks like replay 07/07/2010:

Just days after Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and local leaders wrapped up a recent spat with the federal government over delays in building sand berms off the Chandeleur Islands, another showdown is in full force over a proposal to build rock dams near Grand Isle to stop the oil from reaching deep into Barataria Bay.

The playbook is nearly identical to the sand berm fight: If you don't like our plan, what's your plan? ...

But just as there was with the sand berms, there has been widespread concern in the scientific and environmental communities that the rock dikes could actually do more damage to natural coastal resources than the oil will. The basic criticism is that tides must move in and out of the passes, and that blocking the flow will increase the velocity of water and oil moving into the wetlands, potentially eating away at existing barrier islands and deepening the channel in the future.

I really wonder if Jindal isn't counting on the anti-science, states-rights impulses among the Republican base to make it be politically advantageous to him to approve something that scientific and technical authorities actually reject just because they reject it. The Army Corps of Engineers has rejected it and:

In addition to the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the state's own scientific review panel, the Horizon Oil Spill Science and Engineering Review Team, expressed numerous concerns with the rock jetty plan more than a week ago.

A separate group of 15 coastal scientists from Louisiana universities and national environmental groups expressed concerns about the plan in a letter sent to the corps last week.

"Limited, if any, scientific input has been incorporated from outside experts, even when offered," the letter stated. "This process is inadequate for an endeavor of this scope of potential impacts and risks. Prior to issuance of a permit, we recommend incorporating science and technical expertise into the planning process ... We also request to be included in future oil-fighting strategies planning."
How does it serve anyone in Louisiana, other than Jindal's cronies who might get contracts out of it like dredging companies did with his shaky sand berm scheme, to spend time and resources on a project that may very well do more harm than good?

See also John Collins Rudolf, Louisiana and Scientists Spar Over How to Stop Oil New York Times 07/06/2010.


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