June 18th, 2010
06:44 PM ET
12 years ago

White House defends part-time Gulf recovery chief

Washington (CNN) - Can the man that President Obama has tapped to formulate a long-term Gulf Coast restoration plan only work part-time on such a monumental effort?

Some environmental groups say no way, and are suggesting that Ray Mabus should give up his current post of Navy secretary to focus on the Gulf full-time. The criticism comes after White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told CNN that Mabus, a former governor of Mississippi, will be splitting his time between the two jobs.

"The president talked to the governor about this, and they both agreed that he had the ability to do both," Gibbs said.

But Cat Lazaroff, communications director at Defenders of Wildlife, told CNN that it will be difficult for Mabus to do both jobs well.

"I think our concern is this is not going to be a part-time job," Lazaroff said. "The recovery is going to take years or decades. And the person in charge needs to spend full-time hours on it."

Another top environmentalist, Fred Krupp, sharply disagreed with Lazaroff and insisted that Mabus will do a fabulous job, even on a part-time basis.

"I think it's a great appointment," said Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund. "If he's in charge, whether it's for all of his time or part of his time, the Gulf is in good hands."

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Filed under: Energy • Obama administration • Oil spill • Ray Mabus
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Lee T

    Shows how important this really is to them. Yell and Scream at BP and then blow off the people of the Gulf States. Way to go COC...you are the man!

    June 18, 2010 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  2. Margaret Moga

    Obviously Mr. Mabus's greatest qualification for presiding over the recovery of the Gulf was his stint as Ambassador to Saudi Arabia.
    I seem to remember that the Saudis know something about oil. Maybe that knowledge rubbed off on Ambassador Mabus and it will help him clean up the oil in the Gulf!

    June 18, 2010 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  3. Biased

    So this is how Obama plans to treat it as fighting a war – Secretary of the Navy? Now who looks after the Navy in a real time of war with his responsibilities split like this? This isn't the best pick by any means but does it represent Obama's efforts – half hearted? He and his administration seem to be enjoying more the idea of getting their cap and trade going than they should be.

    June 18, 2010 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  4. USN

    More of obummers "lazer like focus" as with jobs economy , housing , blah blah blah.

    June 18, 2010 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  5. George of the jungle

    I guess people have nothing better to do than argue. Like the last story about bp. Some jerk said that the president took away BP 's constitutional rights by making them pay 20 billion. Since when does a company have constitutional rights. and a British company at that. If the president thinks this guy can do a good job then thats ok by me. All these ass's that think the president forced poor BP to pay for the spill and loss of lives that they caused need to take a hike they are no friends of the gulf or the people that live there.

    June 18, 2010 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  6. thor

    Why not? we have a part time president !!!!

    June 18, 2010 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  7. Da Professor

    And, of course, the Republicans want the Navy Chief to focus on just one ocean too?

    These right-wing slugs stretch the limit in finding fault with Obama and look foolish in the process.

    June 18, 2010 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |