On the June 9 edition of Fox & Friends, guest host Dana Perino responded to the statement that "[Obama's] officials responded immediately" to the Gulf oil spill by claiming, "I think Governor Jindal would disagree with the berms that weren't built right away." In fact, the Army Corps of Engineers was required by law to study the plan, portions of which it approved.
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Perino attacked Obama administration for not approving berm plan "right away"
Perino: "Governor Jindal would disagree" that the Obama administration responded immediately. From the June 9 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
TARA DOWDELL (Democratic strategist): He's been there three times. His officials responded immediately. Lisa Jackson, the EPA administrator --
PERINO: Well, I think that Governor Jindal would disagree with the berms that weren't built right away. That will have to be investigated.
DOWDELL: See, Governor Jindal is being a little disingenuous here, because the Army Corps of Engineers, by law, has to review any plan.
PERINO: All right, we're going to have to -- I could talk to you all day long.
In fact, Army Corps studied the plan as required by law and expressed concerns over proposal
AP: Army Corps previously said it was "working as quickly as possible" on permit request "but still has to follow" federal law. The Associated Press reported on May 24 that "the Corps said it is working as quickly as possible on the emergency permit request -- but still has to follow various steps required by federal law." From the article:
In a statement, the Corps said the state's application is being processed as an emergency permit. The agency said that under federal law, the Corps had to comment on the proposal, leading the state to file a revised plan on May 14. The agency said the information is now being evaluated for potential environmental impacts.
The Corps said it is working closely with the state -- and will make a decision as quickly as possible.
AP: Army Corps documents raised concerns that barriers "could instead funnel oil into more unprotected areas and into neighboring Mississippi." The AP reported on May 26 that the Army Corps released documents that day that "signaled support for parts of the state plan, including berms that would be built onto existing barrier islands," but stated that parts of the plan "could inadvertently alter tides and end up driving oil east -- into Mississippi Sound, the Biloxi Marshes and Lake Borgne." From the article:
A wall of sand that Louisiana officials have requested to block the Gulf of Mexico slick could instead funnel oil into more unprotected areas and into neighboring Mississippi, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said in documents released Wednesday.
Gov. Bobby Jindal and leaders from several coastal parishes want to ring the state's southeastern coastline with a $350 million, 86-mile network of sand berms. However, the corps says the barrier could inadvertently alter tides and end up driving oil east -- into Mississippi Sound, the Biloxi Marshes and Lake Borgne.
Eager to build the berms before the damage gets worse, Louisiana officials said they were willing to delay construction on parts of the barrier to avoid swamping Mississippi with oil.
Millions of gallons are still swirling in the Gulf. Supporters of the sand berms say oil could keep hitting Louisiana's coastline for months.
In documents released Wednesday by the state, the corps signaled support for parts of the state plan, including berms that would be built onto existing barrier islands.
The agency said that if the 6-foot-high sand barriers worked, they could capture oil and allow skimmer boats to more effectively scoop floating crude.
The section highlighted as a possible hazard to Mississippi would connect from the Chandeleur Islands to the marshes in eastern Plaquemines Parish.
Army Corps of Engineers approved portions of the plan "after careful consideration of the available information." On May 27, the Army Corps of Engineers approved portions of the plan to create sand berms between barrier islands off the coast of Louisiana. From a May 27 Army Corps of Engineers press release:
Today, May 27, 2010, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans District Commander Col. Al Lee offered an emergency permit to the state of Louisiana for portions of their barrier island plan.
"After careful consideration of the available information, and working closely with the state of Louisiana, the coastal parishes, and our federal partners, I have offered the permit under Emergency Permit NOD-20, with special conditions, authorizing the state to proceed with six reaches, E3 and E4 to the east of the Mississippi River, and W8, W9, W10, and W11 to the west," said Col. Al Lee, commander of the New Orleans District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. "These areas have been identified as critical locations where greater immediate benefit is likely to be achieved with minimal adverse disruption of coastal circulation patterns."
The Corps' regulatory permit compliance program will assure that the 33 conditions of the permit will effectively carry out the intent of the state's project. If necessary, modifications to the permit can be made as conditions evolve.
AP: Allen continued to express concerns about the berm proposal but said "the prudent thing ... was to start a pilot project and keep asking questions." On May 28, the AP reported that Adm. Thad Allen "approved portions of Louisiana's $350 million plan to ring its coastline with a wall of sand meant to keep out the Gulf of Mexico oil spill." The article noted that the Army Corps of Engineers had objected to portions of the plan due to concerns about oil being diverted to Mississippi and added that Allen also "said some sections of the berm system would not have kept out oil," as well as potentially "interfer[ing] with cleanup." From the AP:
U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen on Thursday approved portions of Louisiana's $350 million plan to ring its coastline with a wall of sand meant to keep out the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Allen said the state could move forward on a network of six-foot-tall sand berms along the Chandeleur Islands and a string of barrier islands west of the Mississippi River.
The U.S. Army Corps had objected to parts of the plan, saying too many berms would alter tidal movements and send oil spilling onto neighboring Mississippi.
The approved berms make up about half of an 86-mile network considered a last-ditch attempt to keep oil out of the state's fragile marshes.
"Rather than just say 'No way' the prudent thing to do was start a pilot project and keep asking questions," Allen said Thursday during a news conference in Venice.
Allen said some sections of the berm system would not have kept out oil. They also could have interfered with cleanup, he said.
The wetlands that would be shielded by the sand barrier are a vital nursery for shrimp, crabs, oysters and numerous species of fish that support Louisiana's $3 billion fishing industry.
The White House approved additional portions of Lousiana's berm plan on June 2.