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Gulf oil spill: Governor calls for permission to dredge

May 26, 2010 |  6:11 pm

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal took another boat tour of the oil spill area Wednesday and later repeated his call to get federal permission to dredge sand and create barrier islands to protect inland estuaries.

The Army Corps of Engineers is fast-tracking the application but must allow other agencies to comment, according to federal environmental law.

Louisiana officials say they can't wait any longer, as more oil seeps into delicate marshlands in Pass a l'Outre.  "We don't need to see a repeat of some of the situation we've seen recently," Jindal said at Cypress Cove after surveying the damage for about four hours.

He said if BP and the Coast Guard don't come up with a solution to removing marsh oil by Saturday, officials will move forward with their own action plan. "Our way of life in coastal Louisiana depends on it," Jindal said.

More than 100 miles of shoreline has been affected by the oil spill, and many fear that the marshes may never return to a healthy state.

Plaquemines Parish President Bobby Nungesser said that if nothing is done by Saturday at 8 a.m., officials will bring out a suction machine to gather excess oil. He said the spill will have the impact of the past four hurricanes in the area. "Once again we were dealt an untruth," Nungesser said. "How much more are we going to put up with?"

Nungesser and Jindal were joined by James Carville, a democratic political strategist and Louisiana resident, who referenced the inaction of clean up crews.  "This is not WD-40," Carville said. "This is not 3-in-One. This is not stuff you put in your car." 

Jindal said the bottom line is that he needs the dredging permits to be approved. "Boom alone isn't going to protect this coast," he said.

--Nicole Santa Cruz

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