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."
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/06/16/art.mabus09y.gi.jpg caption ="Navy Secretary Ray Mabus was selected by President Obama on Tuesday to help draw up the government's plan for recovery efforts in conjunction with officials in the Gulf Coast states."](CNN) - Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, who will develop a long-term plan for the restoration of the states affected by the massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, is a former governor of Mississippi whom the White House has called a proven leader.
The 61-year-old Mabus was selected by President Obama on Tuesday to help draw up the government's plan for recovery efforts in conjunction with officials in the Gulf Coast states.
"The plan will be designed by states, local communities, tribes, fishermen, businesses, conservationists, and other Gulf residents. And BP will pay for the impact this spill has had on the region," Obama said in a nationwide address from the Oval Office.
Last year when Mabus was selected to lead the Navy, the Obama administration released a statement that said: "The president nominated Governor Mabus to be secretary of the Navy because he has the proven leadership and experience our nation needs to serve in this important position."