SCHUMER REQUESTS COAST GUARD, ARMY CORPS BRIEF LOCALITIES ON HOW A FEDERAL RESPONSE WOULD BE COORDINATED IN THE EVENT BP OIL SPILL REACHES LONG ISLAND SHORES
Schumer, In Effort to Have Long Island Ready for Any Possibility, Have Requested Planning Meetings with Coast Guard Begin for Local Communities Fear Grows that With BP Oil Spill Continuing and Predictions of a Severe Hurricane Season, Potential for Oil reaching Long Island Shores is Real Schumer: The Earlier We Prepare, The Better Protected Long Island Shores Will Be
United States Senator Charles E. Schumer requested that the United States Coast Guard and US Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) begin early coordination plans with Long Island coastal communities to prepare for the potential of oil from the BP Gulf Oil spill ending up on local beaches. In his letter to Coast Guard Rear Admiral Robert J. Papp, Jr. and Army Corps of Engineers Lieutenant General Van Antwerp, Schumer called for a field briefing with local municipalities and federal agencies that would be responsible for administering an emergency response.
"What started out as a deadly oil rig explosion on April 20th has become the worst spill in U.S. history, with oil reaching shorelines and no permanent fix in sight," said Schumer. "The same Gulf Stream that brings swimmable, warm waters to our shores can now also bring oil from this disaster here. The potential threat to Long Island coast lines, fishing, wildlife and our overall environment cannot be ignored and, therefore, we must do everything possible to ensure we are protected from the effects of this horrible spill. The time to plan is now."
The United States Coast Guard is the agency responsible for the federal response in the event that the Gulf oil spill reaches the shores of Long Island. The USCG's Long Island Sector Command has begun working with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to establishing reporting plans for any pollution and contamination and in putting in place preincident planning activities. The two agencies have developed an "Area Contingency Plan" for a potential spill. Schumer is calling for the US Coast Guard and the Army Corps, to begin meeting with local officials to provide details of a response plan and coordinate a plan of action for any potentiality.
With latest reports that it may be August before the leak is plugged and predictions for one of the most severe hurricane season on record, the potential for oil in the Gulf entering the Gulf Stream currents and being dispersed even further through US coastal water is becoming a greater possibility. Early coordination with the Coast Guard, ACOE, and local communities would present Long Island communities with a more robust and fully prepared response effort.
"The earlier we are prepared and the greater the coordination is among local, state, and federal agencies, the greater the likelihood that we could fend off significant ecological and economic damage to Long Island and New York," continued. "I am urging both the Coast Guard and the Army Corps to immediately begin the planning process with local leadership on Long Island."
A copy of the letter can be found below.
June 03, 2010
Admiral Robert J. Papp, Jr.
U.S. Coast Guard
2100 Second Street, SW
Lieutenant General Robert L. Van Antwerp
U.S. Army Corps Engineers
441 G. Street, NW
Dear Admiral Papp and Lieutenant General Van Antwerp,
As the lead agencies responsible for the federal response to potential oil spill intrusion in the waters off of Long Island, NY, I respectfully request that you hold a field briefing with local municipal leaders and agency representatives regarding emergency response activities that will be are to be administered in New York in response to the devastating Gulf Oil leak.
What started out as a deadly oil rig explosion on April 20th has become the worst spill in U.S. history, with oil reaching shorelines and no permanent fix in sight. The threat to U.S. coast lines, fishing, wildlife and our overall environment is massive and therefore we must do everything possible to ensure that New York is protected from the effects of this horrible spill.
As you know, the oil spill in the Gulf has required a tremendous output of federal, state, and local resources and coordination. Though we are unsure if and when the oil pollutants will reach or affect the coastal waters of New York State, I strongly believe that planning ahead of this possible crisis is worth both of your agencies' time and energy. As I am sure you are aware, we must take every step necessary to prepare for a worsecase scenario as a result of this environmental disaster.
From what I understand, your agencies work very closely with NOAA and New York's Department of Environmental Conservation on all reports of pollution, contamination response, and preincident planning activities. I have also been informed that the USCG has developed and completed an "Area Contingency Plan" for a potential spill. I strongly recommend that you join with USCG and the DEC to meet with local elected officials to discuss the prespill planning that your agencies have completed.
I thank you for your consideration of this important request and I look forward to your response. If I can be of any assistance please feel free to contact John Jones of my staff at 202 2246542.
Charles E. Schumer
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