BP to fund sand barriers

June 3, 2010 at 12:18 PM

NEW ORLEANS, June 3 (UPI) -- British petroleum giant BP said it would fund the construction of barrier islands off the coast of Louisiana to contain the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen ordered BP to fund the development of barrier islands off the coast of Louisiana. Bobby Jindal, the Republican governor of Louisiana, has pleaded with the federal government for the sand barriers, which could protect hundreds of miles of sensitive marshland.

BP announced that it supported the decision to move ahead with the barriers but would have little to do with the project beyond financing.

"The federal government and the state of Louisiana have agreed that the barrier islands construction is an effective response to the spill, and we look forward to working with them on this project," BP chief Tony Hayward said in a statement.

BP said it would pay $360 million for the six sand islands. Construction could take several months.

Meanwhile, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration expanded further the closed fishing areas of the Gulf of Mexico as the oil spill expands. The latest closure includes areas west of the southern Florida coast.

The total closure encompasses 88,502 square miles, or about 37 percent of U.S. federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

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