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Louisiana lawmakers: BP can't handle Gulf oil spill cleanup anymore

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The solution, he says, is obvious: “We need to handle this like a hurricane, with the governor’s office in Baton Rouge in charge.”

Local officials declared states of emergency as Gulf water areas in Jefferson, Lafourche, and Terrebonne parishes were closed to harvesting fish, shrimp, and oysters. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted landfall for oil along Grand Isle and Port Fourchon by Tuesday, but the oil slick remains several miles offshore. So far, no oil has been spotted on area beaches.

The bid to prevent oil from coming ashore in the parishes continues.

In Jefferson Parish, parish workers, the Coast Guard, and Louisiana National Guardsmen in Grand Isle are scrambling to protect inland waters with sand berms and deflection booms. Parish council member John Young called for state intervention. “The US government and the state need to step in and take over from BP,” says Mr. Young. “We should be responsible for our own plan as far as getting approval for defending our coast.”

In Terrebonne Parish, BP and the Coast Guard have established a response headquarters in the fishing hamlet of Cocodrie, where hurricane Gustave made landfall in September 2008. But much still depends on BP's future responsiveness.

“Our response plan was approved by the Coast Guard and by the responsible party,” said Terrebonne public safety officer Ralph Mitchell, referring to BP. “The oil is still offshore and we haven’t seen any yet. We have some boom out and we’re waiting for more. The parish isn’t responsible for getting it. We have to wait on BP.”

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