According to local Louisiana officials, private contractors are deciding how to deal with the black tide of BP’s oil. On Sunday, June 20, Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser told members of the New Orleans City Council that private contractors are trying to block access to oil-slicked marshes and are keeping pelicans covered in toxic sludge for days before cleaning them. When Nungesser follows the established chain of command to raise concerns, they “never get an answer back.”
Nungesser said that a private contractor blocked Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) entrance to a contaminated area, and tried to do the same with Nungesser and Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA). The contractors hired to run the decontamination of wildlife — possibly the oil-industry-funded International Bird Rescue Research Center — are leaving oiled pelicans to sit in sludge for days before cleaning, Nungesser charged. They’re “making up their own rules,” he said:
We had a meeting here yesterday because the person that BP hired for the animal thing refused David Vitter entrance. He tried to keep me and the governor out with the coach of the LSU Tigers, and I took the chain and said, “Get out of the way. We are coming in.” He just said, you know, they want to keep you out. It is a contractor by BP. What’s happening is they are making up their own rules. I was out there with Anderson Cooper the other night. They let him on the grounds. When I showed up they said, “If we knew he was coming, we would not let you in.” It’s my land. They can’t stop us. It’s the parish land. They’re making up rules, like taking these pelicans, and they’re saying, well we leave them for five days with the oil so they calm down. I’m like, “Show me where that’s a rule, it’s not true.”
Watch at C-SPAN.org.
Nungesser and the members of the New Orleans City Council agreed that the state and federal government needs to take more direct control of BP’s army of contractors, and establish a more responsive command-and-control structure. The Center for American Progress has outlined practical plans for how the government can step up and protect our nation from the BP oilpocalypse.
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