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La. sets own oil cleanup, protection plans

May 4, 2010 at 4:49 PM   |   Comments

BATON ROUGE, La., May 4 (UPI) -- Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, frustrated about the lack of details in BP's oil spill cleanup plan, unveiled a parish-developed plan to save the state's coast.

"We have asked BP for their plans to address the oil leak many times over the last two weeks since this leak began and it became clear that there was no detailed plan to address an incident on this scale," Jindal said Tuesday when outlining the plan, which is available in full on www.lacpra.org.

Oil giant BP also announced Tuesday work started Sunday to drill a relief well to intercept and isolate the underwater well that is spilling oil in the Gulf of Mexico.

The new well would intercept the existing well about 13,000 feet below the seabed and permanently seal it, BP Group Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward said in a news release. The drilling is estimated to take about three months.

"This is another key step in our work to permanently stop the loss of oil from the well," Hayward said. "At the same time we are continuing with our efforts to stop the leak and control the oil at the seabed, to tackle the oil offshore, and to protect the shoreline through a massive effort together with government agencies and local communities."

The plans detail parish- and state-coordinated efforts to save the coastal environment and economy from oil that has been leaking from an oil well that exploded April 20 and eventually sank, Jindal said in a release. Eleven workers are presumed dead.

Jindal said he met with BP officials and briefed them on Louisiana's response plans coordinated with local government officials. He said he stressed to BP Louisiana needs funding from the oil giant and U.S. Coast Guard approval to carry out the state-generated plans.

BP reiterated its commitment to pay for cleanup and working to set in place a streamlined approval process so coastal parish leaders can quickly begin to get their defense systems in place to protect wetlands, Jindal said.

"I want to reiterate again -- this spill fundamentally threatens our way of life in Louisiana," Jindal said. "We want to have a comprehensive plan in place for wherever the oil moves. We know the slick of oil in the water continues to be quickly changing and we must be prepared to mitigate the effects of the oil on our coast no matter where it moves."

Improved weather conditions have allowed cleanup crews to skim oil from gulf waters, The New York Times reported.

Also, BP crews were building a containment dome -- a four-story, 70-ton structure -- the company said it would lower into place over one of three underwater leaks to capture escaping oil and pump it to the surface.

Topics: Bobby Jindal
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