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Gulf oil spill: Heavy oil on Louisiana shoreline, governor says

May 19, 2010 |  4:43 pm

Jindobama After taking a boat tour in southern Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal reported a slick of heavy oil coating wetland areas.

“We saw some heavy oil stranded in the wetlands," Jindal said at a press conference in Venice, La. "The oil is no longer just a projection or miles from our shore. The oil is here. It is on our shores and in our marsh.

Jindal noted that his state already has lost 2,300 square miles of wetlands since the 1930s. The wetlands are an important nursery for marine life, are habitat for numerous bird species and help cushion against hurricanes and tidal surges.

"This is the same area that is home to one of our nation's most productive estuaries," Jindal said. "We have been working aggressively to reverse this trend of coastal land and wetlands loss."

The governor said the oil spill has the potential to reverse progress made in the last two years in preserving wetlands. "Our state was on track to have the lowest rate of land loss in 80 years as a result of our efforts and investments in our coast. Our shrimpers were rebounding, our oyster fishermen were recovering and our coastal communities were rebuilding," he said.

Jindal has called on the Army Corps of Engineers to approve plans to dredge and construct "sand booms" to protect the Chandeleur Islands, Barataria Bay and Timbalier Bay.

-- Ashley Powers in Louisiana

Photo: Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal with President Obama May 3 in Kenner, La. Credit: Patrick Semansky  / Associated Press