Scientists skeptical about plan for berms
Some skeptical scientists are referring to Louisiana's plan to protect the Gulf Coast from the spreading oil leak with a berm system as...
Some skeptical scientists are referring to Louisiana's plan to protect the Gulf Coast from the spreading oil leak with a berm system as "The Great Wall of Louisiana."
The plan is to build 128 miles of sand berms, dredging up 102 million cubic yards of seabed in the process, to bolster the state's barrier islands and absorb oil before it reaches sensitive coastal marshes.
The Army Corps of Engineers gave final approval last week to a scaled-down version of the project. But scientists warn the berms may have unforeseen consequences.
The berm system could reroute the spill up the Mississippi Delta, and it would be unlikely to survive even a mild storm during the current hurricane season.
It also will absorb the short supplies of sand needed for projects to restore the state's coastline, damaged by past hurricanes.
Heavy equipment, including barges and dredge lines, could interfere with nesting season, now at its peak, for protected bird species.
BP, which was ordered by the federal government to pick up the estimated $360 million cost of the revised 45-mile-long berm project, washed its hands of the outcome.
"The company will not assume liability for unintended consequences," said spokesman Mark Proegler.
The timing might be a bit off for tourists hoping to waste away in Margaritaville. But that doesn't bother Jimmy Buffett.
The singer — whose tunes are as much a part of life in Pensacola Beach, Fla., as fried grouper sandwiches, Land Shark beer and the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels — is planning to open a 162-room Margaritaville Beach Hotel in a week.
As tar balls came ashore Saturday, Buffett said he had no plans to delay the opening. "This will pass," he said as he walked along the city's beachfront and fishing pier with Florida Gov. Charlie Crist. Buffett's $50 million hotel sits on the Gulf of Mexico near the main section of Pensacola Beach.
More Fla. waters
closed to fishing
Fishing was banned in more waters off Florida because of the creeping oil slick in the Gulf.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) was closing an additional 565 square miles to fishermen near Panama City, Fla., starting late Saturday. A NOAA spokesman said the additional closure was necessary because forecasters anticipated oil could drift into that area.
Seattle Times news services
Sam and Sara Lucchese create handmade pasta out of their kitchen-garage adjacent to their Ballard home. Here, they illustrate the final steps in making pappardelle pasta.