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Saving Obama rather than LA behind EPA opposition

Political agendas behind in the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to oppose a regular permit that would allow Louisiana’s berm building to continue make it clear that the Pres. Barack Obama Administration would rather preserve its own life and those of marine creatures than help Louisiana protect human life.

Under emergency permits, guided by Gov. Bobby Jindal’s directive the state began building six berms of about 34 miles to prevent oil from the recent Gulf of Mexico spill to prevent it from entering estuaries and lapping up on shore. Even incomplete, they have succeeded by catching a small amount of the total estimated spillage that would have fouled the coastline.

However, Jindal has bigger plans. He wants to build another 13 berms that could protect another 103 miles of coastline which not only could catch oil but also could be used as the first stage of a comprehensive coastal restoration plan. Always a stickler for efficient government in action, Jindal reasoned this could bring that kind of restoration, which counters disruption of some aquacultural and agricultural production but, more importantly, provides for increased hurricane protection, more quickly and more cheaply to the state.

Instead, the EPA indicated it would shoot down the idea by its asking for a halt of the first six berms’ construction, still months away from completion even as they are enough present to catch oil (and already paid for by the miscreant company responsible for the spill) and opposing the construction of the other 13. The commentary attached to the decision said the potential environmental costs it felt exceeded the benefits of catching oil, especially since the leak had been stopped.

Both ideological and partisan politics influenced this decision. Keep in mind that the most radically environmentalist presidential administration in history wishes to use this agenda as a method for government to gain more control over the economy, resorting to corrupt science and unconstitutional fiat using the EPA to impose its will. EPA mandarins may not be so much interested in that mission, aside from the increased power it gives them, as they are in propagating an agenda that inappropriately overvalues non-human concerns at the expense of human needs, especially as any potential harm to the environment is uncertain while a major storm striking the southeast part of the state’s coast certainly will have huge economic costs in dollars and human costs in lives. With such horrendous consequences, the cost of a chance of environmental degradation pales in comparison to these which can be mitigated the faster and more efficiently coastal restoration occurs, as Jindal proposes.

Unfortunately, political concerns even more brutally push the EPA into this position. As Obama was criticized severely for his inadequate response to dealing with the spill and its after-effects, Jindal was applauded by many for his proactive response, making Obama look bad by contrast. The berms were a key component of Jindal’s response, and that they have proven successful does more political damage to Obama. So, Obama has an interest in letting his subordinates at the EPA know that this reminder of his lacking leadership should be curtailed.

Further, as part of the strategy to downplay Obama’s fumbling of the issue, his Administration has floated a narrative that most of the leaked oil no longer poses a threat to the coast, hoping that minimizing the incident makes the public see it less critically as an issue. Thus, part of the EPA response mimics this assertion that not much oil out there thus can cause little damage, reducing the usefulness of the berms.

But in fact, the Obama Administration’s claims quickly were faulted by the scientific community, and more exacting and detailed analyses showed just the opposite. This reality magnifies the utility of the berms and their incorporation into a larger coastal restoration plan. By having this done, they can become more secure and provide better protection just like barrier islands. A decade or more from now a big storm could kick up all of this oil floating near or on the bottom of the ocean and thrust it inland, or a series of smaller events over time incrementally could push it shoreward. Without the berms, one day Louisiana will wake up without warning to a sudden influx of oil onto the coasts and into marshlands, and probably repeatedly.

In the end, this EPA pronouncement was more about saving the political ideology and fortunes of the Obama Administration than any reasoned analysis which would place primacy on protecting Louisiana’s people and coast – which should come as no surprise to observers of this regime since it came into power.


Mr. Harris Plutocrat said...

I've never seen such starry-eyed cheerleading. I think our professor is getting moist starbursts. How can you write something like this and keep a straight face? "Always a stickler for efficient government action"? Even his press people wouldn't believe that. You are a True Believer, Jeff. Jindal's Useful Idiot. The fact that the post contains alleged scientific content should give you pause. Must I remind you that you teach a course in science informing public policy? Jeff: NEARLY ALL of the Louisiana scientists with any remote connection to the Louisiana coast are unconditionally against the waste of money. At the VERY LEAST you should evaluate some of their arguments, if only to dismiss them as the reflexively partisan hack you are. Here is a good link to a series of blog posts that take an actual scientific view of the project (rather than you regurgitating Jindal press releases with the thinnest of veils of science-like substance - such as your reference to "more exacting and detailed analyses", whatever the hell that means).

I don't expect you would ever address any of the substantive points raised by a scientist who was the go-to scientist for several (even conservative) La governors. It is also hilarious to see you write that Obama was "quickly faulted by the scientific community". Rarely has the scientific community ever rallied so uniformly against the anti-science strains of the modern neocon that you personify. From your global warming denial to sand berm adventures to anti-evolution crusades to EPA savaging, almost no modern political movement has generated such a stern rejection as the scientific community has to you morons. Perhaps if you thump your bible a little harder and clutch your guns a little tighter than everything will just magically work itself out.

Bonus hilarious note: Jeff writes that Jindal was "applauded by many" for his spill response, to which he contains a single link to his own article. A perfect moment illustrating the epistemic closure he lives in.

Anonymous said...

Dude, those berms won't be there in a decade, let alone next summer. Stick to what you know, which doesn't seem to be much.