Saturday, July 24, 2010
Gov. Bobby Jindal does one heckuv’ a job, kills oysters before BP gets to do it
by Larry Geller
Is it more humane to let oysters die in an oil slick or to kill them off by dumping fresh water on them? Compassion probably wasn’t on Governor Bobby Jindal’s mind when he ordered the opening of valves that unleashed 30,000 cubic feet of water per second of fresh water from the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico. The idea was to repel the oil slick from the leaking BP well.
The effect has been to kill off Louisiana’s oyster beds since oysters can’t tolerate fresh water.
Having done the deed, it seems that Louisiana wants to hold BP responsible. They’re responsible for a lot, but perhaps not for this unfortunate decision. Good luck, Governor:
In statements to The A.P. and The Journal, Garrett Graves, chairman of Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, and a lead official in the state’s oil spill response, indicated that BP would be held responsible for the damage to the oyster beds caused by the freshwater releases. [New York Times, For Oysters, a ‘Remedy’ Turned Catastrophe, 7/21/2010]
So as the price of oysters goes up and the Louisiana oyster business collapses, it’s not just BP’s oil that’s responsible. What BP has not yet accomplished, Louisiana’s government has done on its own.
Earl Melancon, an oyster expert at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, said he has already written off this year for oyster production.
"If you lose an oyster reef, it takes three years minimum to get it back into production," he said. "And it could take five years."
How much water exactly is 30,000 gallons per second?
For the past 82 days, about 30,000 cubic feet of water per second has flowed into coastal Louisiana, enough to fill the Louisiana Superdome, home to the New Orleans Saints football team, nearly once an hour. [Miami Herald (AP), Widespread oyster deaths found on La. reef, 7/16/2010]
Actually, that’s impressive. Not every state governor has that power.
Not every state governor is responsible for causing so much damage.
(Thanks to Denny McPhee for the pointer to this article)
(ok, an unsolicited plug for Denny:
Listen to Denny, Hawaii's top overnight DJ since 1994, live on KSSK at www.ksskradio.com Monday-Friday 00:00 to 05:00 and Saturday 19:00 to 24:00 HST)