VENICE, La. - Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser is tired of being diplomatic. Days after heavy oil invaded Plaquemines wetlands, an angry Nungesser is fed up with waiting for a decision from the Corps of Engineers on the plan to use dredges to re-build barrier islands to block the oil.
'That oil is destroying the marsh in South Louisiana,'he said Friday.'It will die. We could lose more coastline from this oil spill, than we lost from the hurricanes.
'That's our tax dollars. We should know why it is taking so long. That Corps building is full of people. They got more staff than you can shake a stick at, and yet they take longer to do a project, longer to construct. What is going on here?
Now Nungesser is ready to by-pass the Corps, and get the dredging started.
'I'm going to ask the Council at our meeting next Thursday. I'm drawing up legislation to ask them to fund a million dollars of parish money to lease a dredge. It won't be to the magnitude we need, but it is something.'
That idea drew a mixture of reactions from parish council members.
'I think President Nungesser has come up with a couple of viable plans, him and the governor, and nobody is moving forward,' said District Three Councilman Jerry Hodnett, 'And as you know, that oil has got into the marsh. That marsh is ruined.'
'If it comes from the Plaquemines Parish government, right now we don't know how much money we have, so I don't know where he would get it from, to be honest,' countered District One Councilman Don Beshel.
Friday Nungesser sent a letter to President Obama, begging for help.
'Hopefully that letter will get to him, and he'll hear our urgent cry.'
Billy Nungesser isn't the only one writing letters. This one, sent to the Coast Guard, and the Corps of Engineers, is signed by Louisiana's two senators, and seven congressional members. Both Republicans and Democrats working together on this issue.
'I'm angry that the federal government is the only group standing between our local responders, and real protection for our marsh and our seafood beds,'said First District Congressman Steve Scalise.
And if the Corps doesn't act by Thursday, Nungesser says he is ready to.
'We'll move that dredge and go out and start pumping. Is that even legal? I don't think so, but I can't sit by, we have got to take action.'