$220M Sand Berms Captured .02% of Gulf Oil
They cost $220 million and caught a 'minuscule' amount of oil
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 16, 2010 3:56 PM CST
In this Dec. 15, 2010 aerial photo from a southwings.org flight, berm construction by the State of Louisiana is seen along the Chandeleur Islands, in the Gulf of Mexico.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

(Newser) – Louisiana spent $220 million of BP's money to build sand berms along its coast to catch oil from the big spill—and they didn't catch very much at all, says a scathing government report. It found the berms collected maybe 1,000 barrels of the estimated 5 million spilled. By contrast, other damage-control efforts—including burning and skimming—collected somewhere between 890,000 and 1.85 million barrels, concludes the report from the National Oil Spill Commission. It calls the amount captured "minuscule" compared to the "overwhelmingly expensive" cost.

The report says the federal decision to approve the berms—and charge BP for them—was done mostly to appease Louisiana politicians, reports the Wall Street Journal. An email from Thad Allen: "What are the chances we could pick a couple of no brainer projects and call them prototypes to give us some trade space on the larger issue and give that to (Louisiana Gov. Bobby) Jindal this weekend?" BP pledged $360 million in total for the project, and Louisiana plans to spend all of it, notes AP.