Our strategy could have been much better

If Bobby Jindal and Billy Nungesser had been in charge of cleaning up the oil spill, we would be much further advanced. But unfortunately the federal government and British Petroleum, two foreign entities who did not know the lay of the land, were.

So what happened? In some cases, booms were laid on the wrong side of lakes by boats manned by people who did not know in which direction lay the oil-laden Gulf of Mexico. And other mistakes that local folks would not have made followed suit.

Louisiana fishermen and sportsmen who were familiar with the currents and tides of the coast would have been much more effective in organizing the cleanup. Louisiana is a state unto itself and many of its features are incomprehensible to those from away.

And in many cases when things seemed to be going in the right direction, the Coast Guard and other federal authorities stepped in to stop progress because the procedures had not been approved by federal authorities. Meanwhile, the oil flowed non-stop without federal authority.

Now we are beginning to take things into our own hands which is the right thing to do. But, of course, it has taken some 60 days to realize it. Those are days when much of the flow of oil toward our priceless wetlands went unattended.

President Barack Obama has been to the Gulf Coast four times since the tragedy started. Instead, he should have stayed in Washington and organized a response which would have given local authorities the right to run the clean-up and circumvent the regulations that would have delayed the process. The obvious person to organize our defense would have been the governor of the state most at risk, assisted by leaders of parishes most affected.

Next time there is an emergency here, we should know better and organize our own defenses with our own money. Our state treasurer said that was possible this time.

Then we can reconcile the loss with the feds and parties responsible after our defenses are well in place. We have learned by experience.

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