[StBernard] Pursuing Every Option

Westley Annis Westley at da-parish.com
Fri May 21 09:27:50 EDT 2010

Dear Friends -

Despite several failed attempts to cap the oil spill leak, this past
weekend, BP was able to insert a tube into the leak that siphons off a
portion of the oil that threatens our coast. While this is certainly a
positive development, we're not even close to the finish line. The crisis
will not be over for our state until our shores and our water are completely
clean and our wildlife and our coastal communities are completely restored.

We've started to see substantial shoreline impacts of oil on our coast. As
the Baton Rouge Advocate
=GnKjoHUHPfFYcnh159WTjg> reported, on a recent trip to the coast, I saw
first-hand the thick, black oil that has made its way into our fragile
marshes. In order to mitigate the impact of this oil on the rest of our
coast, we're continuing to push the Coast Guard and BP for more boom in
sensitive areas and we're also pursuing many alternatives that will contain
the oil.

dal-Coast.JPG> In fact, earlier this week, I joined coastal parish leaders
to meet with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to stress the importance of
approving a dredging plan quickly that would help restore our barrier
islands and mitigate the impact of the oil on our coast. Our emergency
permit was submitted last week and once dredging is approved, we could
expect to see land created within just ten days. It's critical that this
plan be approved quickly and that's why we have called on the Incident
Command to authorize the mobilization of dredges so they can be positioned
once the permit is approved. The state has also begun taking steps in
preparation for dredging.

While the Corps reviews our dredging plan, we're not simply waiting. In
fact, the National Guard has been taking the lead in completing projects
that are alternatives to boom and will help contain the oil. For instance,
the National Guard continues to backfill gaps around Elmer's Island in Grand
Isle. The National Guard is also continuing sandbag drop operations around
Thunder Bayou in Port Fourchon as well as the Tiger Dam project at Southwest
Pass. The state's coastal protection agency is also working with the
National Guard to fill in gaps in our barrier islands with sandbags or dump
trucks of sand. We also recently got approval to use Hesco baskets around
Grand Isle and Cameron Parish to protect the shorelines. In addition to
these efforts, we are already running a number of freshwater diversions to
push freshwater out to protect the coast.

While there has been small progress in stopping the leak, we are a long way
from the end of this crisis. That's why we will continue to do everything we
can to mitigate the impacts of this spill and we will not rest until our
coast and our way of life are completely restored.

While the attention of all Louisianians has focused on the protection of our
coastline over the past several weeks, the Legislature has been hard at work
to enact real reforms in education. Our reform efforts have been called
"ambitious" by the Washington Post
=Xl3%2biZL7h2kB%2foWGXrQZEQ> . Our initiatives foster innovation and
flexibility while at the same time holding schools accountable. Ultimately,
these proposals are about providing our kids with the type of quality
education they deserve. Dan Juneau, President of the Louisiana Association
of Business and Industry, recently wrote in the Opelousas Daily World
=l7yQ1PV%2fxoTgp8Uke6Z1Gw> that we have "proposed a bold package that would
demonstrate our state's ongoing commitment to providing quality educational
opportunities for every child." The foundation of our plan for a New
Louisiana where every child is afforded a quality education and economic
opportunity right here in Louisiana depends on our ambitious pursuit of
reform and we will see it through.


Governor Bobby Jindal

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