Lousiana Builds Islands to Capture Oil in the Gulf
By Matt Murray
Published: October 22, 2010
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has been building a series of low lying islands in the gulf of Mexico to combat the the residual oil left in the gulf, reports the New York Times. The project began in June and the state has spent $240 million of the proposed $360 million from BP. The barrier has captured and estimated 1,000 barrels of oil since its construction. Gov. Jindal has enjoyed a very positive approval rating in his handling of the oil spill.
The problem critics and experts have with the barrier is that it’s purely symbolic. With an estimated five million barrels of oil in the gulf, the millions of dollars and man hours used to build the barrier is an exercise in futility. The incomplete project is still under construction and the state wants to avoid any sentiment that the barrier was a failure. The governor plans on finishing this project.
Yet many scientists say the remaining oil from the spill, the largest in United States history, is far too dispersed to be blocked or captured by large sand structures.
“It certainly would have no impact on the diluted oil, which is what we’re talking about now,” said Larry McKinney, who heads the Gulf of Mexico research center at Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi. “The probability of their being effective right now is pretty low.”
The state is proceeding with construction efforts but public opposition is mounting from federal and environmental groups. Many experts believe the money would be better spent on coastal restoration projects. Several of the contracts awarded to dredge the barrier islands have gone to large Jindal donors, with company headquarters outside of Louisiana.
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