The GOP's rising star, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, was the driving force behind the construction of sand berms to curb the Gulf oil spill. They were considered environmentally unsound, and a presidential commission has found that they didn't even work.
A draft of the commission's report was released yesterday, and aside from the obvious (BP), Jindal comes out looking pretty scummy. That shouldn't really shock anyone, but the particulars of the berm deal are pretty bad. So what really happened? Well, the berms cost about $220 million to build with another $140 million committed to finish the project. The report describes them as "underwhelmingly effective, and overwhelmingly expensive." The sand berm project got nearly three times more money than any other oil spill relief project in Jindal's state of Louisiana.
But how does Jindal himself feel about the berms' effectiveness? According to Bloomberg, on November 15, Jindal appeared on the Today Show touting the project's effectiveness: "The reality is, it worked. And the reality is, it prevented that oil from getting into the wetlands 15 to 20 miles away." Hmm. How well did it work? According to the presidential commission's report, the berms only stopped about 1,000 barrels of oil... out of about 5 million barrels that were spilled into the Gulf of Mexico. Nice try, Bobby!
And Jindal could have listened to skeptical experts during a June meeting to weight the pros and cons of moving ahead with the project. According to the report, "A Coast Guard officer present at the summit offered a similar [dismal] assessment. According to that officer, the experts ‘all said it's pretty crummy' and offered no ‘glowing endorsements' of berms as a spill response measure." That sure doesn't sound like something a fiscally responsible Republican would get behind.
Jindal responded with a typically shitty statement, calling the report "partisan revisionist history at taxpayer expense," which means we can call Bobby's Berms "the result of very little scientific evidence, at the environment, and people of Louisiana's expense," right? So, to all of the Gulf residents struggling to squeeze money out of BP in the wake of the oil spill, you can thank Bobby Jindal for sucking up hundreds of millions of dollars for a joke of a relief project.
[Bobby Jindal workin' the berms, via AP]