Making the case against the Jindal/Nungesser sand berm scheme: Rob Young appears in the New York Times. Slabbed highlights Billy Nungesser's double dealing with BP.

Editilla was very kind to stop in with us a few days back sharing a link to the Louisiana Coast Post which has been all over the folly of the sand berms. Let’s begin there:

Most residents of south Louisiana and the main stream media have swallowed, hook, line and sinker, the fish story from Governor Jindal and his staff that we can dredge our way out of the B.Pocalypse by constructing sand barriers around our sinking deltaic coast. The sand berm sales job has clearly been an outstanding success.

But wait, a new Robert Young has now emerged as a media figure, not an actor playing a salesman but a coastal scientist playing the critical role of a policy advocate. This modern Robert Young, a coastal geology professor at Western Carolina University, has weighed in on Governor Jindal’s sand berm solution for saving our coast.

Professor Young wrote an Op/Ed Column in The New York Times on June 11 about this controversial and curious concept, the idea of preventing BP spoilage of the Mississippi River delta, not with shrink wrap but with sand berms. His column lists the very same concerns about going through with this project that have been expressed in LaCoastPost here; here; here; here; and here.

Rob well makes the case in the NYT. Here is a snippet:

The state understandably wants to move quickly and on a large scale, and no one wants to stop a project like this simply because it is spending too much of BP’s money. The problem, however, is that the berms won’t work as promised, and their construction will monopolize resources that could be used more effectively elsewhere.

The berms, essentially a series of long, low-lying islands made of dredged sand, seem like a good idea for blocking an oil slick. But as any engineer will tell you, the difficulties are often in the details. Although federal and state agencies were given only a short time to respond to the application, their comments, included in the permit documentation, raise serious concerns about the proposal and its potential effects.

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Interior, for instance, question whether an effort that will take at least six months to build will appreciably diminish the amount of oil entering the delta wetlands.

Moreover, both agencies note that the berms are not designed to block the tidal flow of water completely, which would be deadly to the wetlands they are meant to protect. But that makes it unclear how much oil the berms would actually prevent from passing into the marshes and estuaries, even when the project is completed.

I’ve consistently said this was never about saving the marshes as it just doesn’t fit the post Katrina experience of the Slabbed where those with connections to political fat cats got no bid contracts they in turn would try to subcontract out to the locals for peanuts. There was no way I could trust the politicians in Louisiana to not attempt to enrich themselves in this process, especially since the coastal scientific community is united in their opposition to the sand berm scheme and the plan was hatched by 2 politicians in Bobby Jindal and Billy Nungesser. Nungesser, the loudest mouth in Louisiana on the spill, in particular, has had an ethically challenged run as Plaquemines Parish President.

The Slabbed Nation literally stretches from coast to coast but I always get a charge when we are linked over at the Saints Report, a fine website in its own right. Clicking around I soon found out The Shaw Group snagged the no bid contract to build the berms and the comments to that news story tell the tale:

SHAW GROUP? Is this the same shaw group whos CEO was the head of the LA Democratic Party? Whos VP was Blanco’s campaign manager? Who got all of them no bid contracts after kartina? Who paid for several junkets for high Democratic officials in our state.. ie LSU away games? Im not sure if it is. I cant see anyhing unethical here. Do you? hahhahaha

It’s deja vu all over again! Better to laugh than cry.

Unfortunately most of the media is asleep at the switch on this, even ace environmental reporter Mark Schleifstein at the Times Picayune, who is currently serving as a mouthpiece for these crooks as evidenced by his latest story where he describes in detail the frustration the coast guard is not giving Jindal, Nungesser and company carte blanche to destroy the environment enriching themselves in the process:

The frustration also extends to the decision by National Incident Commander Adm. Thad Allen to approve construction of only six island berms the state hopes will capture oil before it reaches interior wetlands or natural barrier islands.

Allen’s reluctant decision to approve even that 40-mile batch of sand pits — four west of the Mississippi River’s bird foot delta and two on the east side, along the Chandeleur Islands — still leaves hundreds of miles of shoreline at risk, Graves said.

Jindal flew over the northern Chandeleur Islands on Wednesday to view the dredge California, which is adding 54,000 cubic yards of sand each day to the first of the berms. When completed, in three to five months, the berms will capture oil 20 miles from the coast, away from the fragile marshland that rings the state. Even though the first six islands will be only 40 miles in length, the berms are expected to protect 2,000 to 3,000 miles of shoreline, he told reporters during the trip.

The sense of urgency caused by the threat of oil and the often-misunderstood relationship between coastal Louisiana residents and the oil industry seem to be difficult for both federal officials and environmental critics to understand, Graves said.

Make no mistake Mr Graves, we understand what is going on here and it ain’t saving the environment .  Schleifstein is a fine reporter so we still hold some hope he’ll do justice to the sand berm story but so far it hasn’t happened. That said there is another excellent reporter at the Times Picayune who does seem to get it in Rich Rainey, who filed a report today which details how BP has practically redone a marina Nungesser owns and it is there we stop next:

Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser, who has become a national symbol of frustration by decrying BP’s and the federal government’s efforts to clean up the oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico, has an interest in a Port Sulphur marina that is being refurbished on the oil company’s dime.

BP was evidently using another marina if you pay attention to the dates Rich gave in his story. Predictably Nungesser, who has not met a camera or reporter he didn’t like since the spill had no comment for Rich when he asked about this blatant conflict of interest:

It’s uncertain how the marina became a staging ground for BP. Nungesser didn’t return a request for comment. He did not tour the oil spill Thursday with Gov. Bobby Jindal because of an illness, parish spokesman Kurt Fromherz said. BP did not return a request for information Thursday.

Assistant marina manager Sarah Squarsich, Leona’s daughter, said she couldn’t comment on the marina’s owners, saying it was a silent partnership. Myrtle Grove Marina is listed in public records under addresses in Belle Chasse and Port Sulphur, but Squarsich said the two were the same company.

“There’s only one Myrtle Grove Marina,” she said.

OK folks, we’ve been here and done this just under 5 years ago. Are we going to let a bunch of greedy pigs called politicians destroy what’s left of the environment so their political cronies can enrich themselves on BP’s dime? I hope we all take the lessons learned from Katrina to heart and put a stop to this boondoggle called sand berms.


9 thoughts on “Making the case against the Jindal/Nungesser sand berm scheme: Rob Young appears in the New York Times. Slabbed highlights Billy Nungesser's double dealing with BP.”

  1. I am no scientist (heck, I almost failed Biology at LSU), but having played on the beach as a kid and in the dirt with my Tonka trucks, any moron could figure out that the sand berm idea is about as dumb as Nungesser himself. The first hurricane that comes along is going to reduce those berms to silt, then what will we have to show for the millions spent by BP – well, at least someone will have millions in their pockets.

    Get a grip, Jindal. This is the most poorly conceived idea I have heard come from you. Surely, you are more educated than to buy into this BS (not to be confused with BP) idea. The mere fact that the berms will take months to construct means that the damage will have been done and the berms will be completely ineffective and a big waste of money.

    What should be happening is millions spent by the State or BP to put skimmer/vaccum boats in the water, far off the coast, to prevent the oil from reaching the berms in the first place. Duhhhh!

    I am officially angry!

  2. Let us review what happened early on : Bozo Deano Bonano was in charge for JP. Of course it was screwed up! Aaaaaagh

  3. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOwweeeeeeeeeeeeeee My elderly uncle, my parrot friend and I are actually favoring the creation of more islands cause the way the corruption in Jefferson Parish is continuing in the absense of federal indictments we could transplant some nana’ and coconut trees and move out of JP into freedom from TheRiot’s oppressive government ! Oh, sorry Mr.Parrot, some big date trees for you too ! OOOOOOOOOOOOwweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

  4. Curious: Talk to Piggy Barton. She knows Korea like the back of her hand from all the time she spends there visiting her hubby. He’s been working there over five years yet she stays in JP. Anyway maybe she knows of some islands out that way. Kimchee.

  5. Oh yeah don’t mention paralegals if you talk to her: that is a touchy subject ever since the media nailed her for being responsible for them in the Parish Attorney’s office. Remember Karen Parker Broussard was Barton’s responsibility from 2007 until she was forced out/resigned. The PAO organizational charts from 2007 to 2010 had ParkerBroussard directly under Peggy Barton that entire time. Until Barton changed the chart when Val Bracy put in a PRR for it in January 2010. Still wondering if Obstruction of Justice and/or hindering public records charges are going to be brought against her for that sleight of hand. Too bad for Barton that AMV busted her on it.

  6. Right on sir. I’m president obama and I’m the worst president ever. I don’t want the gulf coast to be protected because its a conservative state that label me as a socialist which I am. I like the article, because it appears you are as dumb as me. I wish i had the guts as Nungesser to speak his mind on national TV without a teleprompter. The reason I haven’t spent too much time in Louisiana is because there teleprompters are not as quick as mine. I need a quick teleprompter so it looks like I know what I am talking about. I just hope America doesn’t find out I hate Christ, I’m Muslim, and that I was never born in America

    1. You illustrate the exact problem with this country today Barack. The house is literally burning to the ground yet idealoguies like you spout Rush Limbaugh talking points taking up for crooked local pols. Don’t you know Nungesser and Jindal probbaly giggle at the sheeple like you off camera while they stuff their pockets full of your tax money.

      We’re a thinking person’s blog here at Slabbed dude and this my GOP crook is better than a democratic crook crap don’t play here. Go to the Picayune as they pettle the drivel you desire to hear.


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