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(NECN: Barataria Bay, La.) - Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) said the state will not waiting for federal approval to begin building sand barriers to protect the coastline from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Oil has pushed at least 12 miles into Louisiana's marshes, with two major pelican rookeries awash in crude.
Gov. Jindal was critical of the amount of boom his state received to ward off the oil seeping toward the coastline. But his major gripe comes at the expense of the Army Corps of Engineers, who have yet to give the go-ahead for the building of sand booms to protect the Louisiana wetlands. He used photographic evidence of oil breaking through hard booms, soft booms and another layer of protection, before being finally being corralled by a sand boom built by the National Guard.
"It is so much better for us. We don't want oil on one inch of Louisiana's coastline, but we'd much rather fight this oil off of a hard coast, off of an island, off of an island, off of a sandy beach on our coastal islands, rather than having to fight it inside in these wetlands," Gov. Jindal said, making the case for sand booms.
The governor said he has been forced to protect Louisiana without the approval of the Army Corps of Engineers, which is weighing the ecological impact of the construction of more sand booms.
"We are not waiting for them. We are going to build it," Jindal said.
"We can either fight battle -- we can fight this oil -- on the Barrier Islands 15 to 20 miles off of our coast, or we can face it in thousands of miles of fragmented wetlands," Gov. Jindal said, clearing favoring the first option. "Every day we're not given approval on this emergency permit to create more of these sand booms is another day when that choice is made for us, as more and more miles of our shore are hit by oil."
The oil spill, which has lasted 33 days since the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, has yet to be stopped by British Petroleum at the source. The situation is dire for Gulf coast states.
"It is clear the resources needed to protect our coast are still not here," Gov. Jindal said. "Oil sits and waits for cleanup, and every day that it waits for cleanup more of our marsh dies."
Material from The Associated Press used in this report.