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Media finally conceding wisdom of Jindal berm strategy

One wonders why it took the mainstream media so long to realize what readers of this space knew well over a year ago, that the leveraging opportunities of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s decision to build sand berms as a defense against potentially polluting oil made the decision wise.

When the Macondo well explosion erupted to begin emptying oil into the Gulf of Mexico off Louisiana’s coast, one of the parties involved, explorer and producer BP, asserted it would pay for all damages. Assured of a funding stream at no cost to taxpayers, the Jindal Administration began an ambitious plan to build sand berms to catch any oil that might threaten ecologically-sensitive areas.

As a bonus, the choice had real value added for it could be designed in a way for the berms to double as barrier islands to aid in coastal preservation and restoration; in other words, at no cost to Louisiana, hundreds of millions of dollars could go years ahead of schedule for improving the coastline, saving even more by stopping any deterioration faster. Regrettably, at a time when these considerations should not have mattered, because it was conservative Republican Jindal taking the lead, the plan baselessly caught flak from partisan and ideological opponents.

Even after the rectitude of the decision increasingly was becoming clear, the Democrat Pres. Barack Obama Administration continued a rearguard action to try to discredit it, despite that fact that, disregarding the enormous spillover benefits no less, expectancy theory before taking it showed the decision’s benefits exceeded its costs, in the short term its fruits subsequently had protected the coast from a relatively small amount of oil, and continue to provide long-term protection. Now, a year later, more time has provided additional verification of the wisdom of the decision, as the berms continue to act as the linchpin to an expanding effort still using funding entirely cost-free to Louisiana.

These days, Jindal’s critics have gone into full retreat on the matter, with the exception of the propagation of some wacko conspiracy theories, while the mainstream media only now seems to be catching on to the decision’s wisdom. Even so (especially for non-readers of this space), it likely will remain one of the least publicized, biggest successes of Jindal’s terms in office.


Mr. Harris Plutocrat said...

Let us marvel at the most dishonest post of Jeff's career. To get the full humor, though, you should bear in mind that Jeff is a professor who teaches students how science informs public policy. The problem is that this coursework contradicts his online persona as a shrieky partisan who spews hatred for liberals while worshipping demagogue politicians who hate liberals. Today's post is a starry-eyed love letter to Bobby Jindal in which Jeff congratulates Bobby on his amazing wisdom of protecting the coast from both oil spills and hurricanes, all without cost, and in spite of federal meanies trying to block his noble efforts. To Jeff, the "enormous" benefits far exceed the costs (though he also tells us that the berms are "cost-free"), are a "linchpin" to saving the coast that will protect us in the "long-term," and is one of his "biggest successes." It is a breathtaking love letter. Lets revisit what Jeff so pathetically leaves off his blog, and which is plainly obvious to anyone who reviewed the basics. The oil spill marked a crisis to the state, but was seen instead as an opportunity by Jindal to try to hog the spotlight and figure out some way to evoke hatred of Obama for his own benefit. The natural thing to do was to make some awful proposal that was certain to meet opposition so that he could portray himself as an anti-Washington humble victim. He did this by making the stupidest proposal he could muster: give hundreds of millions of dollars to my powerful campaign contributers (dredging companies) to bring sand to the beach for a scientific project with near total opposition from scientists. The fact that we are even debating this obvious truth is a sign of the decline of conservatism. Here's what Jeff is too dishonest to tell you. It's the awful, cold truth that you ought to know. First, the berms total a mere 12 to 15 miles (Louisiana's coast stretches about 400 miles). That is, the supposed protection (even if you assume the whopper of a lie that these berms are sticking around and will actually protect from storm surge) is a max of 1/35th of the coast. This is not any meaningful surge protection, Jeff's assertion otherwise is a bald lie, and he leaves out the critical fact. Second, the berms weren't even finished until nearly five months AFTER the oil well was capped. How can you stupid conservatives swallow such transparent lies? These berms didn't create any meaningful oil spill protection. That oil stretched from Florida to Texas, and you think those tiny piles of sand built after the oil had spread actually did anything. Third, these berms immediately started crumbling, and will soon wash away. In essence, Jindal just spent a quarter of a billion dollars pushing sand around on a a beach. Fourth, this is not "free money" like Jeff wants you to believe. That money was put at the public's disposal to address a problem, and the money ($260m!) was rerouted to bolster Jindal's political career prospects. This is misfeasance on a grand level, and the opportunity cost was substantial. In short, this is a collossal Jindal failure, obviously dreamed up by unsophisticated politicians hellbent on using public resources to further their selfish politicial careers, and all predicted to a T by Jindal's critics. This project is a failure on all fronts, and it has been catalogued by, among others, the USGS, US FWS, Scientific American, The Oil Spill Comm'n, the AP and LaCoastPost (while no studies or scientists seem to stand up for the project, all these groups independently condemn it; yet according to triumphant Jeff all these "critics have gone into full retreat"!). Any reasonable person reviewing the project could only conclude that it is a financial disaster with no benefits, and that this was entirely predicted. This is a massive failure of our leaders to consider and respect scientific counsel. This should be a lesson in Jeff's class, but instead he has trained himself to always double-down.

Anonymous said...

Please include some facts and authorities for the facts.

The berms were tiny, but the money was huge and went, without bidding or competition, to Jindal supporters.

Last, and most important, the berms are almost, and soon will completely be, gone.

I would respectfully submit that cannot honestly be considered some type of lasting public work by our Governor, to say the least.

Your hubris is astounding.

Anonymous said...

Is is it just me or does any reasonably intelligent person know that 12 to 15 miles of berm, properly placed, can protect multiplied miles of coast (berms are straight, and coastline length takes into account curves, twists, and turns accounting for hundreds of extra miles). Next, Harris asserts that the berms weren't completed until five months after the spill and so are useless against the oil spill. I thought the liberal line was that the effects of the oil spill will last hundreds of years (thank you for letting the truth slip through). I certainly can assert, though, that some spillage from an oil spill of this size and lasting this long (since Obama's total response consisted of the phrase "plug the damn hole") would certainly happen after the well was capped. Based upon your unsupported arguments, I would certainly take a new look at the lastest "sources" that Harris cites to see if any critics have changed their minds. Just me, but I'd bet Jeff is right and Mr. Harris is just as wrong about this as he has been about the rest of his comments.

Jeff Sadow said...

Anonymous, what's truly amazing about this hysterical comment in particular is within my post itself are links providing evidence that directly refutes his claims with other links embedded in those that do so also, and within The Advocate's stories as well (besides the errors you point out in his analysis). As you have noted, however, he has a history believing only what he wants to believe as spoon-fed to him by far left blogs and websites (he gives examples of dated and/or discredited information from some of them in his post), so what else should we expect?