"People are visible Wednesday, June 6, 2007, on the beach in Dauphin Island, Ala., where a section of the $4 million protective sand berm was washed away by higher-than-usual tides over the weekend. An intact section of the berm can be seen in the background." Image & caption credit:Mobile Press-Register
This is not some inter-party squabble over Federal resource allocation. U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen on Thursday approved portions of Louisiana's 'wall of sand' meant to prevent oily water from penetrating wetlands and beaches. (Not the whole oyster that Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindahl had served up.) There are good reasons not to rush the wall of sand idea too far. As reported in the Sun Herald, "There was concern [by the State of Mississippi and the US Army Corp of Engineers] that building a berm between the Chandeleurs and the marshes of eastern Plaquemines Parish could interfere with the natural flow of water in the Gulf, alter tides and end up driving oil east into the Mississippi Sound." Barbour's concerns were completely legitimate when he stated...that he trusted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers not to allow Louisiana
to build any berm or sand barriers east of the mouth of Mississippi River that would cause oil to flow into Mississippi waters.Pollution that crosses state borders, be it in air, or water, needs a Federal oversight to ensure balanced results. President Obama also did the right thing when he let the Corp's of Engineers dredging and hydrodynamics experts call the shots about when and where sand berms construction was appropriate.
It's time to let the experienced engineering pros make tactical choices and have politicians stop pushing their own fail-safe tactics with the national media. Look at the historic picture, above, of the Dauphin Island berm which washed away right after construction and you see my point.
Footnote: I'm starting to get the feeling that spill impacts could grow to be too big and too widespread to mitigate fully. BP could spend all of it's available cash, deploy all available boom, and exhaust and sicken cleanup workers only to have the oil do another end run.