Jindal’s Berm Project “Underwhelmingly Effective, Overwhelmingly Expensive”


Remember those sand berms Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal was so insistent on getting to stave off oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill? Remember how he ignored science and law to put them up? Remember how they’re the same berms that Jindal uses as part of his evidence to bash the Obama administration’s spill response and conclude that, in Washington, “Political posturing becomes more important than reality”?

Well, as it turns out, the berms were an expensive, wasteful idea.

On Thursday, the National Oil Spill Commission released a draft working paper, “The Story of the Louisiana Berms Project,” that concludes that building the berms were nearly useless for dealing with the spill. “From a long-term coastal restoration perspective,” the commission concludes, “the berms may indeed be a ‘significant step forward,’ as Governor Jindal has claimed, but they were not successful for oil spill response.” The report says that the commission would not recommend using berms for future spills, as “the length of time and cost to build only a fraction of the proposed project shows that, even with advance planning and preparation, and rapid review of proposed actions, it is unlikely that offshore barrier berms could ever be constructed to any effective scale during an emergency.”

All-in-all, “The Commission staff can comfortably conclude that the decision to green-light the underwhelmingly effective, overwhelmingly expensive Louisiana berms project was flawed.”

Sorry, Bobby Jindal.

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn’t fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation so we can keep on doing the type of journalism that 2018 demands.

  • Kate Sheppard was a staff reporter in Mother Jones' Washington bureau from 2009 to 2013. She is now a senior reporter and the energy and environment editor at The Huffington Post. She can be reached by email at kate (dot) sheppard (at) huffingtonpost (dot) com and you can follow her on Twitter @kate_sheppard.