The BP gulf oil spill is dredging up a real strain of relations between the Obama administration and the State of Louisiana and is dredging up acrimonious issues over barrier islands that took weeks to resolve.
Yesterday, federal and state authorities fought over the oil drilling moratorium and dredging of sand for barrier islands.
According to the AP, Federal authorities have ordered Louisiana to stop dredging east of the Mississippi River, where sand from the Gulf bottom is being gathered to build barriers against encroaching oil, Gov. Bobby Jindal said.
Jindal and Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser said federal authorities want the state to move a dredging site farther from the Chandeleur Islands, a sensitive chain of barrier islands.
However, the Interior Department said the order was issued because the state was pumping sand from a sensitive section of the island chain and had failed to meet an extended deadline to install pipe that would tap sand from a less-endangered area.
The two Louisiana officials argue dredging should continue.
Today, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is joining local officials to land on sand-berms at the Chandeleur Islands after the federal government shut down the dredging operations there designed to protect the coast from the spill. Afterwards, Governor Jindal will call on the federal government to restart dredging operations immediately.
Also, on Wednesday, U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, D-La., commented on the U.S. Department of the Interior’s order to halt the dredging east of the Mississippi River and move the dredging site further from the Chandeleur Islands.
Sen. Landrieu said:
“I support the state’s effort to protect our fragile marsh from further damage from the oil, but we have to get it right and not inflict more damage on the wetlands and wildlife. After weeks of work on the permit for the sand barrier project, I am disappointed this delay could not be avoided. I am urging our partners in all the Federal agencies to work quickly to resolve this issue today, get the new pipeline installed and get the dredging resumed. I will be reaching out to Assistant Secretary of the Interior Tom Strickland today to discuss this matter.”