MONTGOMERY – Governor Bob Riley on Tuesday morning met with state and federal officials to prepare Alabama’s response should an oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico threaten the state’s shores.
Oil is escaping a well near a rig in the gulf that sank on April 22 after an explosion and fire.
On Tuesday, Governor Riley met with Captain Steven Poulin, Sector Commander for the U.S. Coast Guard and the designated federal on-seen coordinator, as well as leaders of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, the Alabama Department of Homeland Security, and the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
“The Coast Guard is working to fight this spill as far offshore as possible, but we are preparing equipment and mobilizing resources in the event Alabama’s coastal areas become affected,” said Governor Riley. “Right now this is all about getting prepared and coordinating our efforts. Our state agencies have already been working closely with the Coast Guard to monitor the leak, to identify critical habitat areas that could become at risk, and on oil containment strategies.”
Governor Riley was told a decision by the Coast Guard could come as soon as this afternoon on whether to stand up the Unified Command Operation office in Mobile. Unified Command ensures a unified effort by bringing together federal, state and local agencies and the private sector.
The Governor was informed Tuesday that more than 1,000 personnel are involved in the response effort to date in the gulf region, both onshore and offshore.
There are five staging areas along the gulf already in place to protect sensitive shorelines, including one in Theodore, Alabama.
Among the resources that state agencies are preparing to deploy if necessary are boats to help place oil containment booms and offshore water quality monitoring.
Internet links to the latest information on the oil leak can be found online on ADEM’s home page at www.adem.alabama.gov.