July 7, 2010— -- Scientists and government officials fired back at Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal today, saying homegrown plans he is backing to protect the state's delicate coastline could actually do more harm than good.
Jindal, a Republican, has criticized the Obama administration for weeks, using fiery language to accuse the government of a lackluster and slow response to the oil spill crisis.
Jindal flew over Barataria Bay on this 79th day of since BP's Deepwater Horizon well exploded, sending up to 60,000 barrels of oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico. He was there to take another look at the environmentally sensitive coastline where oil has been encroaching for weeks. It is in that location that he and other Louisiana officials want to build their latest controversial attempt to stop the oil from reaching their coast -- a rock barrier.
Watch "World News" for more coverage of the BP oil spill
Jindal supports a plan to build artificial islands made of tons of rocks and boulders, which he says would slow the flow of oil into the bay, but federal officials have refused the state the necessary permissions to build, and that has triggered an increasingly heated political confrontation.
"We don't have time for meetings, we don't have time for red tape," Jindal has said. "Get in the game to win."
Jindal has used similar highly critical language to poke at the Obama administration for more than a month.
"No is not a plan," the governor said at a press conference today.
Privately, federal officials are furious with Jindal's behavior and say they're baffled by his plans, but it's not just federal officials that are opposed to Jindal's rock jetty proposal.
Multiple government agencies have weighed in opposing the plan, but an army of scientists has also come forward to express their concerns.
The scientists worry that the rock plan could do more harm than good, fearing that in the event of a tropical storm or hurricane, water and oil would rush in the remaining gaps between the natural islands at an even faster rate than now.
When that water inevitably flows back out to sea, they say, it could erode the fragile barrier islands and create new gaps for oil to get in.
The scientists also note that there is currently no funding in place to remove the rocks once they're in place. However, the Governor has said that local officials have requested BP set up an escrow account to pay for the rock removal.
Today, Jindal said he doesn't buy the scientists' arguments and promises to push forward.
"This is the same bureaucracy that has turned down every other plan. They don't have an alternative," the governor said. "Their resolution is [to] let the oil come into the bay."
It's not the first time that a Jindal plan has been blocked by federal authorities. Just last month, the governor made headlines by appealing all the way to President Obama, asking for permission to build sand berms. In fact, the Governor's office notes that the rock jetty is the third plan they have tried to get approved, all in order to save their coast lines.
For its part today, the White House offered up a new prediction, claiming that they will reach their goal of closing off 90 percent of the oil coming out of BP's leaking well head by the end of this week.
A new tanker will be in place to collect a lot more oil, though the development comes a week later than initially promised due to the bad weather caused by Hurricane Alex.