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

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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.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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