New Orleans—Retired Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen is meeting with local parish presidents this morning in New Orleans. The meeting was called after the presidents said they felt ignored by the Coast Guard and BP.
The oil spill response has been a large scale effort, conducted by many different agencies. Because so many people are involved, some local leaders say they've been completely left out of the loop. St. Bernard Parish President Craig Taffaro says, "Decisions are being made and plans are being implemented and the local level isn't finding out about it until its time to fight about it."
Taffaro says they've been having problems with the Coast Guard for a while now, but the tipping point came when tropical depression Bonnie moved into the area. "We were attending a meeting off the base and I get a phone call that Coast Guard personnel showed up and ordered assets to be removed from the base without any knowledge given to us, and I say not knowledge given to us, no one on the base" Taffaro says.
So yesterday, Taffaro, other parish presidents, and the mayors of Lafitte and Grand Isle, collectively sent off a memo to the Coast Guard asking that they be included in clean up plans for their own areas. The response.....Thad Allen wanted to meet with them all today. Taffaro hopes the meeting will result in more than just empty promises. "I'm sure he will say today, we need to work with the local municipalities. But we need to get a little bit more detailed about what that really means so we wind up in the decision making process at the front end" Taffaro explains.
Thad Allen is also expected to go over plans with the presidents today for how they'll begin scaling back resources now that the oil has stopped flowing.