Federal Gov't Halts Sand Berm Dredging
Nungesser Pleads With President To Allow Work To Continue
Federal government has shut down the dredging that was being done to create protective sand berms in the Gulf of Mexico.
The berms are meant to protect the Louisiana coastline from oil. But the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department has concerns about where the dredging is being done. The department says one area where sand is being dredged is a sensitive section of the Chandeleur Islands, and the state failed to meet an extended deadline to install pipe that would draw sand from a less-endangered area.
Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser, who was one of the most vocal advocates of the dredging plan, has sent a letter to President Barack Obama, pleading for the work to continue.
Nungesser said the government has asked crews to move the dredging site two more miles farther off the coastline.
"Once again, our government resource agencies, which are intended to protect us, are now leaving us vulnerable to the destruction of our coastline and marshes by the impending oil," Nungesser wrote to Obama. "Furthermore, with the threat of hurricanes or tropical storms, we are being put at an increased risk for devastation to our area from the intrusion of oil.
Nungesser has asked for the dredging to continue for the next seven days, the amount of time it would take to move the dredging operations two miles and out resume work. Gov. Bobby Jindal on Wednesday also joined Nungesser in asking for an extension.
Work halted at midnight Wednesday.
The California dredge located off the Chandelier Islands has pumped more than 50,000 cubic yards of material daily to create a sand berm, according to Plaquemines Parish officials.
Nungesser's letter includes an emotional plea to the president.
"Please don't let them shut this dredge down," he wrote. "This requires your immediate attention!"