Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Feds & the Berms

Once again the Federal Government is doing its best to screw up attempts by the state of Louisiana to protect its coast from the poison tide of oil. On Tuesday (June 22), Billy Nungesser announced that his previously approved plan to build berms to protect Plaquemines Parish were put on hold. Apparently, 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.

The person responsible for this snafu is a Jane Lyder, assistant deputy secretary for the Department of Interior. Jane seems like your typical government pencil pusher. I looked her up in Linked In and found that she has been in the Department of Interior for 33 years.

I’m sorry, but I fail to understand her reasoning about drawing sand from a “ less endangered area”. Jane: EVERYTHING is endangered right now!!! Without the berms, EVERYTHING will die. Apparently, Jane sent out an email to several people to see if she could get some volunteers to help expedite the pipe installation. Here is the email:

From: Lyder, Jane
Sent: Wednesday, June 23, 2010 4:41 PM
To: Lee, Alvin B COL MVN; Garret Graves; Kyle Graham; charlie hess; Serio, Pete J MVN; Accardo, Christopher J MVN; Colletti, Jerry A MVN; Ulm, Michelle S MVN; Mayer, Martin S MVN
Cc: Robert Routon; steve mathies; Jeff Jenkins; George bevan; Mark Zimmerman; ancil taylor; Mike Flores; Harris, James
Subject: Question about manpower

I’ve been asked if we could get more people out there to help lay the pipe would it go faster. It was suggested that we should help the State find volunteers to make a 5-7 or 9-10 day job a much shorter job. Is that feasible at all? We would be willing to contact folks in Houma & round up volunteers if it would help at all.


And here is Billy Nungesser’s response on Anderson Cooper last night:

And to give you the kind of person we're dealing with, she sent an e-mail out today that said, could we possibly move volunteers to shorten that time frame?

Obviously, this lady has never -- doesn't know what a dredge is, doesn't know what a barrier island is. It's a 36-inch steel pipe, lady. You don't move it with volunteers.

And the pelicans she's worried about -- Anderson, you saw that small grass area behind us. This berm by Friday would have protected that small, one of the last breeding grounds out there left.

But this -- with this project being shut down, if that oil comes to the Chandeleurs by Friday, like projected, those pelicans, those breeding grounds will be destroyed because she single-handedly stopped this project.

And I want to put her on notice...

Here are some statements by Nungesser sent to (and others) by Nungesser's press office

Nungesser Dredge Statement
Wednesday, June 23, 2010

“Every minute we waste makes us more and more vulnerable to the oil attacking the marsh and the breeding grounds for the pelicans. It’s a shame that the bureaucrats once again fight us instead of helping us in this war against the oil,” said Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser.
Below is an email from Jane Lyder of the Department of the Interior. She’s the one holding up the dredging. This is one piece of correspondence in a chain with the State of Louisiana, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, DOI, and others.

(2nd Nungesser statement from June 23)

“You don’t move sediment pumping pipe with volunteers. This is the lady that Thad Allen and President Obama are allowing hold up dredging to save our wetlands—God help us. What planet is this lady from? In the conference today Lyder was worried about the pelican nesting grounds. Obviously, she hasn’t been out there to see the birds dying, covered in oil, just like the other people who make ridiculous comments. Maybe she should go sailing on a yacht in England with Tony Hayward, it would be a great place to send her on vacation. I’ll pay her way,” said President Nungesser.

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