As news surfaced that the giant cap meant to contain the Gulf of Mexico oil spill failed, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal announced his own plan to save the coastline from mass amounts of incoming oil. Jindal is proposing “strengthening” a line of delicate barrier islands 10 miles off the coast of Louisiana by dumping dredged materials in the gaps of water that stretch between the small pieces of land. He hopes his plan would stop oil from reaching the marshlands on the coast of Louisiana. We think it sounds like a destructive answer to a really destructive problem.
Jindal has actually been proposing the plan of “strengthening” the islands for three years in hopes to protect the coastline against hurricanes. He’s now adding the threat of oil to his former mother nature argument and is attempting to rush the plan through the federal government for approval. Previously he’s tried to secure federal funding for the project that he says will cost “hundreds of millions of dollars” to complete, and now he’s directing his monetary requests towards BP, the company in charge of the Deepwater Horizon rig that’s causing this oily mess.
Environmental advocates are worried about the plan. They note that it would cause long term environmental destruction in two ways. As has recently come to our attention in the Netherlands, filling in the water between the islands would permanently alter the coastal habitat of threatened species — like the Louisiana state bird, the brown Pelican — by blocking the natural flow of tides. In addition to natural habitats being altered, the material proposed to fill the space needs to come from somewhere and dredging will no doubt cause environmental destruction in that location as well. Though this plan might successfully keep the oil slick from reaching land, we’d rather see the state of Louisiana stick to the green solutions that we’ve uncovered to solve the woes of the spill.