August 1, 2010

This is really just disgusting. There's no way in hell all of those millions of gallons of oil and dispersants that poured in to the Gulf are just gone. Billy Nungesser, President of Plaquemines Parish, LA is at the end of his rope here and I don't blame him. BP is saying that they can't find any oil and are pulling assets out of the gulf for cleanup and the Coast Guard is letting them do it.

Digby has more on this latest dog and pony show from our media -- Dismissing The Gusher:

I posted yesterday about the emerging meme that the BP disaster was not big deal and today Brad Johnson at Grist puts that meme in perspective. Read on...

As the AC360 segment notes, Billy Nungesser isn't buying this either. They went out there and saw for themselves how much oil is still on the water.

UPDATE: Here's an example of what the residents in Grand Isle are dealing with. The Asphalt Beach in Louisiana (Photos)

KAYE: Retired Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, who is overseeing the federal response, said today the nearly constant flights that check for surface oil on the water from the air are barely detecting any oil, beyond thin sheens -- this as BP's incoming CEO, Bob Dudley, said it's time to start scaling back cleanup efforts.

At the same time, he said BP will not abandon Gulf residents once the well is permanently sealed.

But not everyone is buying that promise.

Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser joins me now.

And Billy, I want to play for you exactly what Bob Dudley said today, and then we will get your response.


ROBERT DUDLEY: In terms of the effort, no, it's not too soon for a scale-back.

We haven't permanently, finally killed the well. I don't think we will see any more oil going into the beaches.

And where there's no oil on the beaches, you probably don't need people walking up and down with hazmat suits. So, you will see that kind of a pullback, but commitment, absolutely no pullback.


KAYE: So, is it time, in your opinion, to scale back on the cleanup efforts?

BILLY NUNGESSER: Absolutely not.

You know, he might be talking about the beaches in Florida. Louisiana is getting slammed. For the last two days, we have oil out there all over, same places and other places we didn't have oil.

KAYE: Your guys have been up in your own helicopter, and you have seen the oil.

NUNGESSER: You know, I don't know what's going on here, but Thad Allen takes a flight, sees no oil. BP starts pulling assets out. They're all on the same team here against coastal Louisiana and the Gulf Coast.

KAYE: Because you went to the same areas, you're saying, where he has said that they didn't see oil, and you're saying that -- that you did.

NUNGESSER: It's a dog and pony show. The oil is out there. It's all over. But that was rehearsed, to take that flight. Either they were looking up or they were flying 3,000 feet, not looking down. There was oil all over.

And then, the next day, all of a sudden, assets start leaving Plaquemines Parish and Saint Bernard. It was choreographed well.

KAYE: Yes. Let me ask you about that, because I know you had a meeting with the parish presidents and Thad Allen. And you talked about that you would all be included on the decision-making at the --

NUNGESSER: Absolutely.

KAYE: -- at the local level, on the state level here.

NUNGESSER: Absolutely.

KAYE: So, what happened? Because I know we have some photos tonight that really show otherwise.

NUNGESSER: What happened? They lied. Absolutely no assets would leave until we get together on Tuesday. We're meeting Sunday to present a plan to them.

KAYE: So, this is boom.

NUNGESSER: They lied.

KAYE: These photos that we're looking at, this is boom that was taken --

NUNGESSER: That is the same boom that -- that the Coast Guard wrote a letter that -- when they were taken to safety for the tropical storm.

Now, today, when we pull it over, the sheriff pulls it over, they say it's the (INAUDIBLE) boom.

KAYE: So -- but this is boom that you were never even told was going to be removed --

NUNGESSER: No. No. We had to pull them over --

KAYE: -- which was part of the deal.

NUNGESSER: The sheriff's office had to pull them over. And we caught 12 of the trucks. I don't know how many left before we caught those 12.

KAYE: Let me ask you very quickly about the fishermen, part of the vessels of opportunity program. If the cleanup efforts get scaled back, what is going to happen to these guys?

NUNGESSER: Well, they have been -- we -- they have been promising for three weeks to add fishermen. They have taken a bunch off. So, that gap is -- is crushing the fishermen.

So, I'm glad BP agreed to pay one more month compensation until we can get the new compensation plan in place, but 30, 40, 50 fishermen a day show up at my office. They say, get ready. We're going to put you on.

Whoever is handling that for BP has failed miserably.

KAYE: Because Thad Allen has said that, you know, we have -- if we have less cleanup work, you have the contractors and then you have the fishermen, they can't keep them all on.


KAYE: So, what should they do?

NUNGESSER: You know what? Thad Allen is going to BP school for how to deny. He is in denial.

Come down to Plaquemines. We will show you the oil. You know, they were removing five barges today, take -- standing them down. Our guys were there unloading 1,250 gallons of oil.

And they say, wait. Where are you going with this equipment? We have got oil all over. But we have been told to stand down. Who told you? Houma.

Houma is like the Wizard of Oz.

KAYE: Right.

And you're saying, if you want, take -- take your guys, but keep let -- leave the equipment and -- and we will do it, right?

NUNGESSER: Absolutely.

You know, every time there's a problem -- Venice did not know the blimp was in Plaquemines.

KAYE: Right.

NUNGESSER: It saw oil for five days.

KAYE: Right.

NUNGESSER: Now they're moving it out. Who told you? Houma.

I can't get a name out of Houma.

KAYE: Right. Right.

NUNGESSER: Houma is like the Wizard of Oz, a little guy hiding behind a curtain.

KAYE: All right, Billy, we're going to have to leave it there.

NUNGESSER: It's crazy.

KAYE: It is -- it is a really tough situation. And I know you are going to stay on top of it and keep giving them a hard time to get what you need.

Thanks a lot for joining us tonight.

NUNGESSER: Thank you.

Can you help us out?

For 18 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.