Local governments: We want more say in oil cleanup


NEW ORLEANS — The presidents of seven coastal parishes and other local officials say the Coast Guard and BP have banded together and ignored them, and they want a change.

Even though the well is capped, there’s still a great need to protect wildlife, waters and fisheries, restore the damaged coast and wetlands, and fix economies devastated by the disaster, they said in a statement released late Wednesday.

State and local governments should be part of all decisions, planning and other work as cleanup and restoration continues — and that includes letting local governments help check all equipment, people and other resources in their areas before any is removed, they said.

They also want Coast Guard backing if BP disagrees with them, where scientific or other objective information allows it, and a 60-day recurring budget for each municipality to use in planning and recovery.

It was signed by the presidents of Plaquemines, St. Tammany, Lafourche, Terrebonne, Jefferson, St. Mary and St. Bernard parishes; the mayors of Grand Isle and Lafitte mayors, and two Jefferson Parish councilmen.

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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