We reported yesterday about the Army Corps of Engineers rejection of a plan by Louisiana’s Jefferson Parish to block oil from entering the Barataria Bay. Outrage has been growing over that decision, buoyed by news that oil has reached nearby Lake Pontchartrain. According to a reports, responders retrieved roughly 1,000 pounds of “tar balls and waste” from the waters.
Not only are locals upset by the rejection–a shock after initially offering support for the measure–but there is increasing concern that the government has no alternative plan in place:
“One of the things that really gets me is they didn’t offer us an alternative plan and they didn’t offers us a plan of their own, “[Grand Isle Mayor David] Carmardelle said. “They just said, No.”
Carmardelle’s frustration was matched by Governor Bobby Jindal who explained, “They need to fight it like the war that it is. We have told them that no is not an answer, no is not a plan, no is not acceptable.”
Environmental groups have been roundly criticized by local politicians in the Gulf, who they feel are stymieing a quick recovery. Both the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration relayed their concerns to the Army Corps about the possibility that the rock dikes could result in environmental damage. And a number of environmental groups like the Florida Wildlife Federation and the Sierra Club joined the federal government on Tuesday in their appeal of the decision by Judge Martin Feldman to block the President’s six month moratorium on offshore oil drilling.
Meanwhile oil slips closer to shore every day while the people most affected by the spill feel hamstrung in their efforts to protect themselves. But rather than wait around, Carmardelle is still hoping to find a solution. BP had already purchased the rocks pending the Army Corps’ decision and the mayor is hoping he might still be able to find the money to build the dikes:
“I’m really hurt inside. I think they’re going to kill our community,” Camardelle said. “But I’m not giving up.”
With the rocks already purchased, Camardelle said, building the dikes would cost about $25 million.
“I say, let’s go. If we can come up with the money, let’s bypass the federal government. Let’s protect our people.”