Jindal: $340M more from BP for Gulf restoration

Gov. Bobby Jindal and coastal leaders at Tuesday's announcement
Gov. Bobby Jindal and coastal leaders at Tuesday's announcement

Governor Bobby Jindal traveled to lower Jefferson Parish Tuesday to announce that some natural barriers to storm surge will be rehabilitated, thanks to $340 million that BP is giving the state for coastal restoration projects.

Jindal says 200 miles of the state's shoreline remain sullied from the BP oil spill off Louisiana's coastline.

Jindal says the restoration work will run from Terrebonne Parish to the east bank of Plaquemines Parish. Specifically, the four barrier islands which will benefit from the funds are: Caillou Lake Headlands which is also known as Whiskey Bay Island, Cheniere Ronquille, Shell Island and Breton Sound.

"What this means to the average person is this barrier, this extra line of defense... whether you're a fisherman or not, whether you ever take your kids out on the water or not, this is so important in terms of the reducing the threat from future tidal surges from the next storm. This is one more line of defense to keep that water out of your home, out of your community," said Jindal.

"Because of their efforts and all the efforts of the leaders here today, we can finally start seeing flood protection. The storm surge on the coast is getting better, not worse every year," said Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser.

The town of Lafitte, as well as nearby Barataria and Crown Point, have suffered flooding from back to back storms.

"Five of those events brought tidal surge where we had flooding," said Lafitte Mayor Tim Kerner.

"It would help a lot because from Grand Isle going east is deteriorated, there's hardly any land left. We need some protection, badly" said Lafitte fisherman Alan Cheramie.

"Rebuilding the barrier islands is a must. In other words, that's your first line of defense. You know I have a 103-foot shrimp boat, it draws 11 foot of water and it was 33 years old when I bought it. I fish today where there was land 33 years ago, you know, so barrier islands definitely need repairs," said Lafitte fisherman Ronald "Mister Jughead" Dufrene.

And while the governor says none of the $340 million he announced during the press conference in Lafitte will be used for river diversion projects, he says those types of projects are critical for the future.  But some fishermen say that could drive them out of business.

"It'll hurt the fishermen, you know, the brown shrimp... it'll definitely hurt those.  White shrimp thrive a little bit on the river water, but the pesticides and the chemicals they got coming down in the river water, is it safe for anybody?" said Dufrene.