The Governor said he sent BP an ultimatum today with two choices – sign a contract and start dredging immediately or provide the funds now and let the state start dredging. Governor Jindal stressed that BP needs to stop stalling so dredging can begin right away to protect Louisiana's coast.
"This morning, I authorized the state to execute an emergency contract with Shaw and Bean Dredging to immediately mobilize dredges and get to work on the six sand boom/dredging segments the White House approved yesterday to help us in our fight to protect the coast," Jindal said. "We have also asked the Army Corps of Engineers to free up their contracted dredges as feasible. We expect to see dirt above water on the Chandeleur Islands in 10 days, unless BP forces additional delays.
"We sent BP an ultimatum this morning and told them they have two choices – either they can do this themselves or they can send us a check and get out of the way so the state can do it. I talked to the president last night and the White House again this morning – and we are demanding that BP stop stalling us with lawyers and paperwork and get to work on these segments, as the President ordered."
At the governor's visit to East Grand Terre, he had a first-hand look at the state's dredging operations there to build a sand berm to block the oil from spreading into fragile marshland. The state recently redirected a dredge already conducting coastal restoration work at East Grand Terre to build the berm.
There was substantial oil impact next to the berm, and this oil would have drifted into fragile marshland had the dredging operation not been conducted. Within the oil build-up, the Governor viewed heavily oiled birds including a number of brown pelicans.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries was contacted immediately to deploy biologists to visit East Grand Terre and rescue the birds. LDWF later reported that their biologists rescued around 20 oiled birds from the East Grand Terre area.
"It was exactly a week ago today when we first landed on East Grand Terre to see our state dredge in action building sand boom," Jindal said. "Even after seven full days we still do not have the first dime from BP to begin dredging on even the first segment of sand boom that the Coast Guard approved last week.
"We know that BP has a lot of money to pay a lot of lawyers to drown us in a lot of contracts and red tape for a long time. We need the federal government to make sure that does not happen. We need these funds immediately to get to work. We are in a fight to protect our way of life and they haven't given us the first penny to get to work on these projects. This is BP's spill. BP is the responsible party, and we need the federal government to hold them responsible."
Jindal said it is estimated that about 100 miles of sand berms will help protect about 4,000 miles of our shoreline.
"We could have already constructed around 10 miles of this sand boom if our plan had been approved 22 days ago when we first submitted it – on May 11," Jindal said. "According to NOAA, about 140 miles of our coastline have now been impacted by oil. Again – this is why we need to be fighting this oil 15 to 20 miles off of our coast and not up in the fragile marshland.
"We continue to ask the Coast Guard and the federal government to approve our entire 24-segment sand boom plan, by giving us the permits and approvals we need to work on the other 18 segments we proposed. Our entire coast is important."