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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Kindra Arnesen speaks out

Posted By on Tue, Aug 10, 2010 at 10:54 PM

In this week's issueGambit spoke with Kindra Arnsesen, wife of a Plaquemines Parish fisherman and one of the loudest voices on the Gulf. She battles BP, the Coast Guard, the Environmental Protection Agency and other authorities daily, and it's a brutal fight. She's exhausted, but she's not going to stop. "I’m tired of arguing with these people and I’m tired of fighting it," she says, "but I know we’re in for a probably 20 year battle."

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She's appeared on 60 Minutes in Australia, the Washington Post, and local news outlets, trying to get national eyes on the parish and the oil's wide-reaching effects on the coast, its industries, community and people. Arnsesen's voice went viral with this video from the Gulf Emergency Summit in June:

She's now working with a small nonprofit group she helped start — the Coastal Heritage Society of Louisiana, helping families on the coast with mortgage payments, medical bills, school clothes, and other needs. It also pays for independent air and water quality testing.

"You know, I was politically asleep. I thought our government was here to protect us and take care of us. And when this happened, I had a rude awakening," she says. "Everything I’ve seen is set up to protect industry and themselves. It’s not set up to protect tax-paying citizens.

"I have to give credit where credit’s due. To the individuals who have given up every single day of their life, 24/7, for the past 100-plus days, to work on this project, they’re actually on the ground, in Venice, Grand Isle. They’re not the problem. The problem is the one with the Armani suit and a checkbook."

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