The National Incident Commander of the Gulf Coast oil spill, ret Coast Guard Commandant Thad Allen, just released this statement approving construction, at BP's cost, of five additional barrier islands to protect Louisiana marshes from the oil spill.
"Consistent with all the work undertaken in recent weeks to assess Louisiana's barrier island proposal and gather input from local officials, environmental experts, and top scientists and engineers, I have directed BP to pay for five additional barrier island projects in addition to the one I approved last week as part of our continuing commitment to do everything possible to protect our vital coastal communities from BP's leaking oil. Based on a thorough expert analysis, we believe that these six total projects, which will be constructed expeditiously in the areas most at risk for long-term impact by oil, will effectively stem potential damage to these fragile shorelines.
After committing to providing Governor Jindal our determination within 24 hours of our meeting with local officials and environmental experts to discuss these projects yesterday, I notified him this afternoon. I reiterated to him that this administration will hold BP responsible for providing full payment for any strategy that will protect our valuable coastal communities from the impacts of their catastrophe.
In addition, we are moving critical response assets across all the Gulf Coast states in preparation for potential near- and long-term oil impacts. In Alabama, the Coast Guard Cutter Cypress arrived in Mobile Bay today to protect Dauphin Island from the north and west. Tomorrow, we will commence a surge of boom to Alabama's Katrina Pass that will be positioned to create a funnel to collect oil that comes in with the tide. Additionally, we have deployed four coastal patrol boats to coordinate response in Alabama's coastal waters.
Four helicopters are being deployed to the Alabama, Mississippi and Florida coast to provide surveillance information to help skimmers position their efforts strategically to collect the most oil threatening the shore possible. The Coast Guard Cutter Tampa has a flight deck that will allow for these helicopters to refuel offshore, and the Coast Guard Cutter Elm is currently in the area off the coast of Pensacola, Fla., working around the clock to skim oil from the surface."