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Bobby Jindal and the volcano

April 6, 2009 |  4:00 pm


In his largely panned response to President Obama’s speech to Congress in February, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal complained about government spending and had this to say about volcanic activity:

While some of the projects in the bill make sense, their legislation is larded with wasteful spending. It includes $300 million to buy new cars for the government, $8 billion for high-speed rail projects, such as a "magnetic levitation" line from Las Vegas to Disneyland, and $140 million for something called "volcano monitoring." Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington, D.C.

Among the comments aired after Jindal’s speech — along with “stale” and “disappointing” — was the observation that the governor should have a greater appreciation for the dangers of natural disasters. His state, after all, experienced Hurricane Katrina. As if to prove the point, Mt. Redoubt in Alaska has been rumbling and sending plumes of ash into the air for days. On Sunday, the Anchorage Daily News reported the latest problems unleashed by the volcano:

Chevron suspended its oil production in Cook Inlet on Sunday because eruptions from Redoubt volcano are threatening the Drift River tank farm that the company needs to store its oil.

“It means that we can’t produce oil because we have nowhere to ship it to," said Chevron spokeswoman Roxanne Sinz.

The dominoes began to fall Saturday when an eruption by the volcano prevented the transfer of oil from the Drift River terminal to a tanker and forced workers to seek emergency shelter. Floodwaters caused by rapid melting of the Drift Glacier covered the airstrip at the terminal, though tanks there holding 6 million gallons of oil stayed dry and undamaged.

Hmm. So maybe that’s why the government spends money monitoring volcanos. For more on the volcano — and how Alaskans are fuming over all that ash — check out the Daily News. And be sure to look at the photo galleries of shots submitted by presumably dusty Alaskans.
-- Steve Padilla

Photo: The Redoubt volcano blowing off steam on Sunday. Credit: HO/AFP/Getty Images