Thursday, August 6, 2009

Hey... Wish We Could Help ran this Associated Press story about the fragile coastline at Port Fourchon, located just west of Grand Isle. According to the article, Port Fourchon supports about 90 percent of the Gulf of Mexico's 3,700 offshore platforms, and is the only US port capable of handling the largest oil tankers. The port handles about 1.5 million barrels a day, about 15 percent of all crude oil flowing to inland refineries. From the article:
Officials worry that unless work begins immediately to bolster the port's defenses, a direct hit from a strong Category 3 storm or worse could wipe out its waterways, docks, giant cranes, tanks and helipads, crippling the facility for weeks and creating a national energy crisis overnight.

Then, a familiar cast of characters get in line to pass the buck, and generally do nothing. Let's see, how about the Army Corps Of Engineers? Well, they're all over it with a big project to start...two years from now.
The Army Corps of Engineers hopes to begin work in 2011 on a $243 million shoreline restoration project for the Caminada Headland, where Port Fourchon sits. And this year's hurricane season, forecast to be about average with nine to 14 tropical storms, has been quiet."Hope and pray there's not another hurricane before we can get out there and do the work," said Fay Lachney, the corps' project manager.

Next, let's see how our friends at FEMA respond. Eh...not so much from them either.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has said it does not pay for damage to a natural beach, and a proposal to use stimulus funds was rejected.

How about the private sector...I bet the Oil industry would kick in to protect a place so vital to their interests. Right?
Mike Lyons, a lawyer for the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association, said the energy industry — through taxes on oil and gas extraction and with its own funds — has done a great deal to stop erosion in coastal Louisiana."There's quite a bit of money coming in from the industry's operations assisting in the state's efforts to do coastal restoration work," Lyons said. "And we've supported that for several decades."The industry's biggest direct contribution to Port Fourchon came when Chevron Corp. spent $500,000 on beach restoration at the port in the early 1990s, Chaisson said. More recently, Shell helped plant vegetation on a new man made ridge.
Wow, they did such a great job, they don't need to do anymore. I wonder if a price spike created by a forced shut down of Port Fourchon might actually be good for Big Oil?

For now, about all the people who run the port can do is watch the sand wash away. Port staff patrol the area on buggies, looking for breaches and erosion, dispatching damage reports to state and federal agencies, pleading for action."Every storm, the beach rolls back. We're getting to a critical point now," Chaisson said. "We keep telling that story and the money just doesn't come."

This should end well. Read it all here.

Photo by Wompajomp

No comments:

Post a Comment