Saturday, July 31, 2010

Please, Governor Jindal. Stop trying to help the environment

Of all the characters that have to come to the light during the Gulf oil spill, one of the biggest “winners”, if you could really call them that, has been Louisiana governor, Bobby Jindal. And I give him some credit; he’s been out there on the beaches from the start getting as much face-time as possible with those impacted. He’s also been one of the most vocal people decrying the inaction of the government. He demanded immediate action, and if government wasn’t going to do anything, than he would.

And this earned the Governor some serious credibility in the media. His main proposal, the construction of artificial barrier islands made from dredged sand, became a rallying point for both news outlets and politicians. The whole project however, reeked of demagoguery. The reason the government wasn’t building sandberms was because, quoting one coastal geologist, “I have yet to speak to a scientist who thinks that the project will be effective.” The EPA too stated, “there is no evidence the project will stop oil from entering marshes and estuaries.” But heated political pressure trumped science, and the federal government caved in, authorized the funding for this estimated $340 million project. And just as the scientists predicted, the berms aren’t doing a damn thing. Well actually they are, they’re washing away into the ocean, (click here for pictures).

But learning today, this isn’t the first time during this crisis that Jindal rushed into an absolutely idiotic idea to make it seem like he was doing more than the federal government.

“In May, a few weeks after the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and began leaking as much as 60,000 barrels of oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico, Gov. Bobby Jindal ordered the opening of many of the state's massive Mississippi River diversions, hoping that the torrent of fresh water would drive the oil back into the sea.”

….*blink*….really?

Govenor Jindal clearly does not understand how the tides work. Though I guess his sand island project was testament enough of his oceanographic ignorance. There are many species that can only thrive in the brackish environment of coastal marshes. Suddenly hitting the marshes with a deluge of freshwater is a great way to disrupt this delicate ecosystem. For one, oysters harvested from the marsh are a $300 million industry for Louisiana. Scientists are now reporting up to 80% oyster mortality in areas flooded with Mississippi water. And it may take three years until the oyster stocks recover, if they recover.

Seriously Governor, you’re taking an environmental disaster and just making it worse.

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