Gulf Disaster

Oil Spill: Scientists Battle BP, State Officials

Are raised emotions clouding scientific judgment in the Gulf? The Army Corps of Engineers denied a permit over the weekend for Louisiana state officials' plan to build $30 million of rock dikes across the Barataria Bay, in the southeast area of the state—a move officials say will protect the bay from oil, but which scientists say will cause massive erosion and the possible breaching of the bay’s barrier islands. Louisiana officals were outraged, with even Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal joining the fray, calling the denial “absolutely ridiculous” and blaming it on “bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.”—a characterization the scientists strongly resist. It’s not the only trouble scientists are facing in the area: The Huffington Post says a squad of researchers equipped to “definitively measure” the oil spill and its effects has not received the green light it needs from the federal government and BP.