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Plaquemines Parish president blasts federal response to oil spill

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser says Adm. Thad Allen should resign
  • Nungesser: "The marsh is dying. It's dead."
  • He hopes President Obama's upcoming visit will result in action.

Venice, Louisiana -- Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser on Wednesday blasted the federal government's response to the oil spill that has fouled more than 100 miles of the state's coast, and called for its point man to step aside.

"Thad Allen should resign," Nungesser told CNN, referring to the U.S. Coast Guard admiral who has been leading the government's effort. "He's done absolutely nothing. He's an embarrassment to this country."

Nungesser, who had just completed a tour of the stricken area, bemoaned what he had seen. "The same oil that's been out there two weeks ago is still out there, and nothing is being done," he said. "The marsh is dying. It's dead."

He said the Coast Guard should demand that BP begin cleanup efforts immediately. "They had no plan to keep the oil out, even though they said it wouldn't come ashore," he said. "They had no plan to clean it up. They have no plan to make the fishermen whole. It's like it's being run with a bunch of seventh-graders. This is absolutely ridiculous."

Nungesser said he was holding out hope that President Barack Obama's return visit to the region on Friday will result in action. "When he comes back, he needs to change the command that's in charge of this," Nungesser said.

The parish president specifically called on Obama to support plans touted by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal for the Environmental Protection Agency to issue dredging permits so that a berm can be constructed to protect the state's threatened marshlands.