Slabbed contributor Russell and I traveled to the campus of Western Carolina University last Friday and met with Rob Young, Professor of Geosciences and of the Director of the University’s, Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines. Our readers should well know Rob by now as his name has been mentioned here frequently of late last time being Thursday night passed just before he appeared in an interview with Anderson Cooper.
We had a wide ranging discussion that included barrier islands, coastal insurance issues, state wind pool solvency and of course Bobby Jindal and Billy Nungesser’s sand berm boondoggle. Rob requested that I keep certain portions of our discussions off the record and I’m happy to honor those requests. The reason is not that he is hiding something far from it in fact. Rather, it was because he complained, rightfully so in my opinion, about the relatively recent trend of the politicization of science and he did not want any of his remarks misconstrued. I am convinced Rob is in this for the science and only for the science. This is what separates him from certain politicians whose initials are B.J. who likes to use science only when it furthers his political ambitions.
With that said there are three points that need to be made. The first is I have a boatload of links saved where politicians like Nunny, Jindy, Chris Roberts and others whined to anyone who would give them an open mike (ie Anderson Cooper) about the feds not letting them dump rocks around their sand berms but I have none of those links handy as I write this post. It is just as well because these blowhards weren’t saying anything of substance anyhow though I’m certain it made for good TV footage and news copy, especially when Cooper’s airhead replacement went stalking the Corps of Engineers on July 5th inquiring why they were not working with the now suddenly wanting to be cooperative Nunny and Chrissy as their permit to dump rocks was rejected. For the record the powers that be at the COE were evidently doing the same thing Anderson Cooper was that day in enjoying the federal holiday but I digress.
Second, regarding the rock addition to the sand berm scheme, if the new goal is to rebuild the barrier islands as Chrissy suggested, Rob pointed out to us that the endangered sea turtles which use the islands and beaches to breed can’t very well lay eggs in concrete and rocks. It is those pesky little details the politicians never seem to grasp that comprise the reasons the coastal scientific community are united in their opposition to the berms or more simply put, it is the science stupid.
Those pesky details also didn’t stop the politically motivated hate mail though from coming to Rob’s email box though, as he told us most of those moved to email him wanted to know why he was so anti Bobby Jindal. Stuck on stupid doesn’t begin to describe it folks.
To segue to my third point I must stress a fact that is already common knowledge in BP hiring up every coastal scientist they can including Ivor Van heerden, who was fired from LSU for speaking out against the substandard Army Corps of Engineer Levees that failed after Katrina. Van heerden learned well because he sold out to BP for the oil spill. Better to stick to the PR script and take the money and run than speak out in defense of sea turtles. That politicization of science thing is a bitch, especially in Louisiana which has raised it to an art form of late. Keeping quiet or selling out are really the only two options available to local coastal scientific community. I think we can safely add that is most likely the reason a coastal scientist from North Carolina has emerged as the point man for those local coastal scientists that have the best interests of the environment at heart rather than BP’s. My partner in blog Nowdy added the team at the University of South Alabama to Team Environment and I too applaud Bob Shipp for not selling out due to the restrictions BP is placing on the scientific community that works for them.
That said my third point is that while Jindy, Nunny and company have been busy ignoring the coastal scientists BP could not buy, BP has been putting theirs to good use in studying the impacts of the sand berms. I always wondered why BP did not resist spending over $300MM on this boondoggle but the answer is contained in an earlier piece Rob wrote for the New York Times that we highlighted over a month ago. Long story short not only are the berms useless against the oil, they may well destroy the ecosystems they’re billed to protect. And you can bet you’re sweet bippy that is exactly what BP’s scientists are cataloguing as I write this post. Such data is certain to come in handy when the litigation starts and BP will be able to rightfully point a finger at the sand berms as a contributing cause of the wetlands destruction. This fact caused me to opine with Drake Toulouse:
Even though I have come to strongly dislike BP I have to admire how they used Jindal’s politcal ambitions and greed to their own advantage.
This brings us to Drake because his blog was brought to my attention today via a trackback he sent to Slabbed on the comprehensive post he wrote on Jindy and his latest debacle in the sand berms, which in reality is just one in a long line of gubernatorial fuck ups from Boy Bobby, Here is a snippet:
In regards to his Louisiana’s preparedness and handling of an oil catastraphuk, it should be noted that over the last decade the State’s oil spill coordinator’s office had it’s budget slashed by 50 percent, a trend Jindal continued while in office. Last year, Jindal cut funding from the state’s oil spill research program, and in the state’s oil spill contingency plan, there are pages of blank charts where details of available supplies such as booms and skimmers should be while the part of the plan dealing with a worst case scenario was labeled, “to be developed.” The federal response plan, or lack there of Jindal keeps screaming about was signed off on by state officials before the oil spill, and even though Jindal rages at the Federal government for not having enough boom, he demanded three times more boom then the state plan he signed off on, called for.
Oh and of course, Bobby Jindal has since sealed all of the state’s oil spill records.
Now let’s take a closer look at two more items related to the oil spill, the Louisiana National Guard and of course, those infamous sand berms.
Bobby made an immediate call for National Guard troops to help contain the oil. He demanded five thousand troops and then shortly thereafter attacked Obama every chance he got for not delivering. Problem is, he did get them, 6000 of them and so far has only deployed 1053 of the troops available. When CBS caught him in this lie, they immediately challenged his statements, but he continued to deny receiving the troops, that is, until CBS returned and provided him with proof of their existence. At this point, he admitted he had access to the Guard and further added, “no comment.”
The troops, even at this date, have yet to be deployed.
The pictures shown by Len Bahr over at Louisiana Coast Post finally got Anderson Cooper’s head extracted from Billy Nungesser’s very large anus. Maybe he and team CNN will now be able to smell the difference between the fresh air and Nunny breaking wind and begin reporting this story right. We can only hope anyhow.