BP Cover Up? Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser Says Oil Giant Lies About Oil Spill Cleanup

Where's the oil? Nungesser says his crews are still vacuuing it up from marshes.

ByABC News
August 2, 2010, 4:21 PM

August 2, 2010— -- Oil is still hitting the Louisiana shore, and BP is trying to cover it up, aided by the federal government.

So says Louisiana leader Billy Nungesser, the Republican president of Plaquemines Parish, in an explosive interview today with ABC's Diane Sawyer.

Watch Diane Sawyer's conversation with Billy Nungesser tonight on "ABC World News."

After a week of news suggesting that much of the oil has been skimmed up or begun to break up, Nungesser pushed back against those claims. He said his cleanup crews were busy vacuuming crude out of marshes over the weekend, finding thousands of dead fiddler crabs, as well as dead fish and oiled birds.

"Make no mistake, there's large areas that are totally destroyed, and the greenery is completely dead," Nungesser said.

Sawyer pressed Nungesser, asking him if he was accusing BP of a deliberate cover-up.

"Absolutely," he responded. "It's obvious, and until they sit around the table and put all the cards on the table, nobody trusts them. Take a poll -- does anybody trust them? Nobody down here."

"Who's controlling who here? It looks like BP's controlling the federal government," he said.

"Saturday, this oil that I'm holding was in Barataria Bay at St. Mary's Point," Nungesser said, holding a jar full of thick black crude. "It's shameful that we have to keep proving ourself. I wish there was no oil -- I'd rather get my life back, too. But every day, oil is appearing somewhere."

Nunguesser said that BP has vastly understated the area of marshland affected by the spill, and he now has his own helicopters out searching for oil, feeding in information on the location of crude.

"We used to get that information from BP, but it's obvious now that their job is to fly out there and say there's no oil," he said. "The local people are having to go out and look for it ourself."