Yesterday, heavy oil entered Louisiana’s coastal wetlands near the mouth of the Mississippi, prompting Governor Bobby Jindal to escalate his call to rebuild the state’s barrier islands immediately. I would much rather clean up a beach than the wetlands,” he told The Advocate during a boat trip to examine the amount of oil that has penetrated marshes in Plaquemines Parish. “This isn’t oil sheen or tar balls we’re seeing. This is the heavy oil we’ve all been worried about. Let me be clear, it’s here.”

Jindal and Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser have been pressing the Army Corps of Engineers to approve a plan to build up barrier islands from the Mississippi Border to St. Mary Parish with dredged sand from the Gulf floor.They say that restoring the state’s eroded island chain will help prevent floating oil, which is seeping past containment booms, from entering sensitive wetlands. The state filed for an emergency dredging permit last Tuesday. While Jindal says he is expecting the permit to be granted before week’s end, the corps refuses to put a time line on  permitting.

The Times Picayune reports that:

A corps spokesman, Ken Holder, said in an e-mail statement Wednesday that the corps must still comply with National Environmental Policy Act procedures, and that the corps is seeking comments from various resource agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, among others.

“We are currently evaluating all of this information for potential environmental impacts, as required under NEPA,” Holder said in the e-mail message. The corps could not provide any estimates of when or if the permit would be approved.

Meanwhile, BP claims they are capturing, with a syphon tube, 3,000 barrels a day of what they estimate is a 5,000 barrel a day leak.  Since BP released a video of the leak last week, some experts, reports The Advocate, have said that the amount leaking is more likely as much as 70,000 barrels a day or 2.94 million gallons a day.

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