Gregory Stone, director of the Coastal Studies Institute at Louisiana State University, warned that scooping sediment out of the sea bottom could accelerate wave action.
"It's not advisable to go out into shallow water and dredge and not expect potential negative impacts," Stone said. "That's going to increase the energy of the waves."
Such worries prompted the Interior Department to conclude: "We do not think the risks inherent in proceeding without more environmental study and knowledge are acceptable."
Coastal scientists and oceanographers were brought in this week to present their views on the berm proposal to state and federal responders. Many said they were frustrated, wondering why their expertise was not brought to bear sooner.