Whether forced or willingly, BP will pay for six sand berms along Louisiana’s barrier islands. The language changes from American muscle: “I have directed BP to pay for five additional barrier island projects in addition to the one I approved last week as part of our continuing commitment to do everything possible to protect our vital coastal communities from BP’s leaking oil,” Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen told the Associated Press, to “Oil company BP says it will pay for the construction of six sand barriers off the coast of the US state of Louisiana to try to protect fragile wetlands from a huge oil slick,” from the BBC.
Whichever the case, approximately 100 miles of sand berm, 6 feet tall, 20 feet across the top and 320 feet across the bottom, will stretch from Timbalier Island, on the west side of the Mississippi Delta, to the Chandeleur Islands on the east. The sand berms will be broken into 24 segments with gaps to allow tidal flow. The Mississippi bird’s foot delta will not be obstructed.
Holding up the original permit request to the Army Corps of Engineers, which was filed weeks ago by the state, were objections from Department of Interior, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and various environmental groups, questioning everything from the possibility of impounding marshes, changing salinity and current flow and effects on wildlife and the islands themselves. Also the chatter, as the weeks went by and state grew more and more frustrated, opined that the berms would be too little too late.
Also from the BBC, BP’s chief executive Tony Hayward, who has shown an amazing insensitivity to the plight of Louisiana residents, admitted that it was “entirely fair criticism” to say his company was unprepared for the deep-water disaster. In an interview with the Financial Times newspaper, he said: “We did not have the tools you would want in your toolkit.”
In addition, on Wednesday Governor Bobby Jindal sent a letter to President Obama and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar requesting that they lift the moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Jindal cites huge economic losses to the state both from the impaired seafood industry and the potential loss of oilfield jobs.
While the economic impacts are devastating to the state, until we can be assured that the other 33 deepwater rigs in the gulf have “the tools you would want in your toolkit,” should another problem develop, how can we support this position?
MAY 22 This post was written the day after the second line shooting in NOLA, by Brentin Mock. Mock is a friend of Deb "Big Red" Cotton, a blogger who was shot in the back and was seriously injured. It is a raw, emotional piece of writing, something the writer obviously felt he needed to get off his chest. But it raises questions that can't be easily dismissed, and might give some insight into where the source of these events truly is.
MAY 22 In this Baton Rouge Business Report post, Rolfe McCollister considers the privatization of bus service in Baton Rouge. After decades of under-funding, it is a mess, and although a tax (partially) passed last year, improvement hasn't happened yet. McCollister apparently feels it is time to let private business get in on the transit business.
MAY 22 This post on Bayou Buzz by Jeff Crouere urges the defeat of a bill that would grant modest pay increases over the next several years to the state's judges and clerks of court. The state is in no position to fund pay hikes, Crouere argues, with the pay increases costing a total of $9 million over several years. It sends the wrong message to the (proverbial) hard-working people of Louisiana, he says.
MAY 22 The Advocate reports here that State Treasurer John Kennedy is complaining about a meeting of the corporation that oversees the state's tobacco settlement. The Governor wanted it restructured, and he has some support, but not a lot. The corporation agreed with his plan, but Kennedy didn't, and it appears that the meeting was noticed in a manner completely different than that of all previous meetings. Kennedy's given to hyperbole, but in this case the fish don't smell too fresh.
MAY 22 In this Advocate story, Carencro Police Chief Carlos Stout says the recent federal indictment of a strip club owner is all wrong. The indictment alleges that drugs and prostitution went on with impunity because club staff made arrangements with "local" police. Stout says it never happened, and while his cops do work security in the parking lot, they're not allowed inside.
MAY 22 This amusing post in DIG Baton Rouge recounts an ad that ran on Craig's List recently; the advertiser was seeking tenants for a Beauregard Town house. He knew his market, and wrote an ad that the most ironical hipster couldn't resist. Apparently, he really did know his market, because the ad worked like a charm.
MAY 22 In this post in The Lens, Mark Moseley comments on the rhetoric Gov. Jindal employed in trying to save his tax "reform" package. One interesting point concerns Jindal's use of his brother, Nikesh, in a little story. Nikesh left Louisiana because of his inability to get a decent job, the story goes, but the story won't hold water: Nikesh lives in DC, which has an income tax level comparable to Louisiana, Moseley says. If income taxes caused the dismal situation, it should exist in DC too. Right?
MAY 22 This post by columnist John Maginnis traces the trajectory of the bill that would fund construction at community and technical colleges -- and bypass the Board of Regents and traditional higher ed funding mechanisms. Sure, it will bust the legislature's self-imposed debt limit, but some leges feel that there's more need (because there is more growth) in the community and technical college area than in the university area, he says.
David Calhoun and Elizabeth “EB” Brooks are the first two employees of Lafayette Central Park Inc., the nonprofit charged with turning Lafayette Consolidated Government’s 100-acre Johnston Street Horse Farm property into a passive public park. Calhoun was named executive director, and Brooks is director of planning and design.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.