With all the information coming from the gulf it's getting hard to keep track of everything. Miles of boom are being deployed. Some areas covered while others are ignored. There's many plans in the works but few seem to have been approved. This is looking more like a cross between the "Gang that couldn't shoot straight" and the "Keystone cops". Today I saw Orange Beach, Alabama where the beach was covered with tar and not a boom or skimmer in sight.
Sand bags weighting 2,000 pounds each were hauled in on Friday to get the process started. The bags are being brought in by helicopters belonging to the National Guard and borrowed from other sources. The bags were placed in gaps at Pelican Island and Scofield Island on Friday. The process will continue until all gaps are filled and the interior barrier marshes are protected from more oil coming ashore.
This report from WWLA TV in New Orleans
GRAND ISLE, La. -- Giant floating barges, usually valued for what they carry, are now wanted for what they may block -- future waves of that chocolate colored sludge oozing towards Barataria Bay.
"We'll have pumps on top of the barges that can actually have hoses attached them to suck oil off as they come against the barges, and the barges will also steer oil towards those openings and have skimmers sitting there to skim off the oil as it tries to go through the opening,” said Deano Bonano, Jefferson Parish's emergency preparedness director. “It won't completely stop the oil. It will minimize the oil getting in there.”
16 barges have already arrived with at least 100 more expected by next week. Area leaders hope to sink them along side one another at major passes where Gulf waters flow into coastal Louisiana.
A more permanent plan calls for an interior barrier of rocks to line the barges, sealing entry for the oil. But the permits have yet to be signed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the feasibility of it all remains an issue.
“We’re going to make sure that in those passes there's nothing that’s going to obstruct it like a gas line that we don't hit that. So they’re doing the tests, the field tests now, to determine where those are,” said Steve Theriot, interim Jefferson Parish president.
Meanwhile the marshland and the way of life for the people of Grand Isle hang in the balance.
"They didn't do anything to deserve this. They've lost their jobs, they’ve lost their livelihoods. We're not going to let them lose their land. We’ll do whatever we have to do to protect them,” said Jefferson Parish Councilman Tom Capella.
Jefferson Parish officials expect the Coast Guard to give its official nod to the project on Friday and hope to gain approval from the Corps by Sunday.
"Hopefully we will be driving pilings by Monday and moving barges next week,” Bonano said.
But the beaches here on Grand Isle are on the other side of the bays, so the barge plan isn't designed to protect areas like these from the oil.
But area officials say the sand, unlike the marshes, isn't alive and so while it may be difficult to clean, they could eventually do it. But calls continue to line the beaches here and response teams remain on call.
My take on this: Booms and sand barriers are fine for a temporary fix but this toxic mess will last for decades. What will really be needed will be a more permanent fix. It may be necessary to put a set of boat locks with a filtration system. Skimmers are fine for surface oil but considering the amount of dispersants BP is using they'll need something a bit more aggressive and subsurface. And now while they have the time before any hurricane heads their way what are they doing? Fiddle farting around wasting time money and resources.