Ala. preparing for possible oil slick hit on coast

Alabama officials are getting ready in case the state

The Associated Press In this aerial photo taken in the Gulf of Mexico more than 50 miles southeast of Venice on Louisiana’s tip, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig is seen burning Wednesday.

GULF SHORES, Ala. (AP) - Alabama officials are getting ready in case the state's beaches and wetlands are hit by an oil slick from the petroleum rig that exploded and sank off the coast of Louisiana.

State environmental officials held a conference call Monday with emergency planners, and contractors already are preparing to contain any damage from the spill.

The emergency management director in coastal Baldwin County, Leigh Anne Ryals, said it could be both an environmental and economic disaster for a major slick to hit Baldwin or Mobile counties.

Experts are monitoring winds and ocean currents to see which way the leaking oil spreads. The coast could be affected this week if crews can't cut off an estimated 42,000 gallons of oil that's leaking daily.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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