UPDATE 2-White House approves Louisiana berm plan -Jindal

* Louisiana gets permission for five sand berms

* Governor says ‘you can hear the silence’ in oiled area

* BP says it will pay for the projects
(Updates with cost estimate, details, BP supports project)

By Ed Stoddard

VENICE, La., June 2 (BestGrowthStock) – The White House on
Wednesday approved plans to construct several large offshore
sand berms that BP Plc (BP.L: ) (BP.N: ) will fund to help buffer
the Louisiana coast from the giant oil slick in the Gulf of
Mexico, Louisiana’s governor said.

U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen told BP to pay for the
five berms approved by the White House, in addition to one he
and the Army Corps of Engineers approved last week. The British
energy company later said it supported the six projects and
would pay the estimated $360 million cost to build them.

The decision marked a victory for Jindal, a rising
Republican star who has lobbied for weeks to win support for
the plan even as he steadfastly criticized BP and the Obama
administration for what he has called a sluggish response to
the oil spill.

The growing petroleum slick has damaged more than 140 miles
(235 km) of Louisiana’s fragile coastline and largely shut down
its seafood industry, idling thousands of fishermen.

Meanwhile, the BP offshore oil rig blowout and ensuing oil
slick have posed a key test of the Obama administration’s
ability to handle a rapidly unfolding crisis.

“Our federal government does not need to be making excuses
for BP,” Jindal said at a news conference just moments before
he received word of the White House decision. “Every day they
wait, every day they make us wait, we’re losing our battle to
protect our coast.”

ARTIFICIAL BARRIER ISLANDS

The sand-berm construction plan essentially calls for the
manufacture of six artificial barrier islands with sand dredged
from the floor of the Gulf to help safeguard Louisiana’s
fragile bayous and marshlands from encroaching oil.

Critics have questioned whether the berms can be built up
quickly enough to keep more oil from washing ashore.

But supporters of the plan say the spill is likely to
remain a threat for months and that the berms could prove
crucial in holding back oil debris that would otherwise be
swept inland by hurricanes.

As much as 19,000 barrels of oil (800,000 gallons or 3
million litres) a day has been pouring into the Gulf of Mexico
off the coast of Louisiana since the rig drilling a BP well
exploded six weeks ago, killing 11 workers.

Almost 4 million feet (1.2 million metres) of protective
boom has been deployed to protect wetlands, but Jindal said it
was not enough and that it was more effective to clean the oil
from sand than from fragile marshes and other coastal
ecosystems.

“The right thing for us to do is to fight this oil on our
sand,” he said. “I’d much rather fight this oil on the sand
than in our wetlands.”

He was speaking after touring the wetlands in Pass a
Loutre, an area that he said had been fouled by heavy oil over
two weeks ago and where the oil remained, underscoring the
difficulty of the clean-up effort.

Jindal said the impact on wildlife in areas that normally
teemed with insects, birds and fish was obvious and that you
“could hear the silence and smell the fumes.”

Locals, worried for their future, applauded his efforts.

“Everybody is rallying around the governor,” said Mike
Frenette, the head of the Venice Charter Boat and Guide
Association. “His pleas and demands and concerns are about as
truthful as you can get.”

Stock Market

(Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Will Dunham)

UPDATE 2-White House approves Louisiana berm plan -Jindal