We can rush DADT without a study, but not sand berms to save La. coast 

Jake Tapper, I think, asked the most pointed question in this afternoon’s press conference. He referred at to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, R, and his plans to build quick, low barrier islands that would protect his state’s coast from the immediate disaster. Jindal has angrily noted that those plans, submitted for a federal permit on May 11, were delayed as the oil spread. He has since threatened to build the berms even if it lands him in federal prison.

Here’s Tapper’s question:

Q    Thanks, Mr. President.  You say that everything that could be done is being done, but there are those in the region and those industry experts who say that’s not true.  Governor Jindal obviously had this proposal for a barrier.  They say that if that had been approved when they first asked for it, they would have 10 miles up already.  There are fishermen down there who want to work, who want to help, haven’t been trained, haven’t been told to go do so.  There are industry experts who say that they’re surprised that tankers haven’t been sent out there to vacuum, as was done in ’93 outside Saudi Arabia.  And then, of course, there’s the fact that there are 17 countries that have offered to help and it’s only been accepted from two countries, Norway and Mexico.  How can you say that everything that can be done is being done with all these experts and all these officials saying that’s not true?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, let me distinguish between — if the question is, Jake, are we doing everything perfectly out there, then the answer is absolutely not.  We can always do better.  If the question is, are we, each time there is an idea, evaluating it and making a decision, is this the best option that we have right now, based on how quickly we can stop this leak and how much damage can we mitigate — then the answer is yes.

So let’s take the example of Governor Jindal’s barrier islands idea.  When I met with him when I was down there two weeks ago, I said I will make sure that our team immediately reviews this idea, that the Army Corps of Engineers is looking at the feasibility of it, and if they think — if they tell me that this is the best approach to dealing with this problem, then we’re going to move quickly to execute it.  If they have a disagreement with Governor Jindal’s experts as to whether this would be effective or not, whether it was going to be cost-effective, given the other things that need to be done, then we’ll sit down and try to figure that out.

And that essentially is what happened, which is why today you saw an announcement where, from the Army Corps’ perspective, there were some areas where this might work, but there are some areas where it would be counter-productive and not a good use of resources.

The president did not even address the tanker issue in his response.

There are potential downsides to the berms, including the possibility that they would funnel oil to the Mississippi coast. But Louisiana is in immediate danger. Is it really a better option to have Louisiana's marshes absorb that oil?

Congress is currently rushing to pass Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal, because there’s no time to wait for the Pentagon’s study on the matter. But we could not rush to build barrier islands in the critical time period when they might have kept oil (and might still keep some oil) from destroying an entire coastline.

The good (?) news: The feds finally approved part of the sand-berm plan.

About The Author

David Freddoso

Bio:
David Freddoso came to the Washington Examiner in June 2009, after serving for nearly two years as a Capitol Hill-based staff reporter for National Review Online. Before writing his New York Times bestselling book, The Case Against Barack Obama, he spent three years assisting Robert Novak, the legendary Washington... more
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