General Honore sounds off on cleanup efforts

By Cheryl Mercedes - bio | email

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Retired U.S. Army Lt. General Russel Honore is not holding back on what he thinks about cleanup efforts in the Gulf. As commander of the joint task force in recovery efforts following Hurricane Katrina, he got a good idea of what works and what does not.

He believes the solution to the coastal crisis is tied up in Washington.

It is a daily routine in which more than 1100 U.S. National Guard troops, fishermen and volunteers take part off the coast of Louisiana. The former lt. general has been tracking the day-to-day efforts since day one.

"We're not going quick enough," said Honore. "Taking any measurement tens of thousands of oil in the ocean every day. We've lost this campaign."

Politics, Honore says is in a large way responsible for what he calls a slow and disappointing cleanup process. BP officials have said, more than once, that the company will pay the bill for the efforts here, but Honore says the federal government is tying up resources that could help speed up the process.

"There's a difference between being in charge and accept responsibility," he said. "I think it's not good for the American people when they start pointing fingers at each other. At the end of the day it's America's government that's going to have to take charge of this."

This meaning supplying state and parish officials with the means necessary to recover and helping industry workers who have lost jobs pay rent and put food on their tables.

"This is much more long term effect on our economy and way of life and culture," he said.

As BP workers struggle to find a successful way to plug the leak threatening the coast, the situation here only gets worse. Honore suggests perhaps putting a little pressure on BP execs will do the trick.

"Start fining BP, freeze their assets and fine them about a half billion dollars a day until the oil is turned off," Honore said.

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