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Washington D.C.
Unified Command Joint Information Center
News Release
Thursday, July 22, 2010

Severe Weather Response Plan in Place for Oil Spill Response

NEW ORLEANS — The Unified Area Command center is tracking tropical weather near the Bahamas very closely and is constantly engaged in discussions with the National Hurricane Center, NOAA and FEMA to ensure the safety of more than 40,000 people currently assisting in the oil spill response and recovery efforts. 

To prepare for the possibility of severe weather, Rear Adm. Paul Zukunft, Federal On Scene Coordinator, has directed the movement of surplus response equipment to inland staging areas. These considerations are meant to protect people, boats, boom and other equipment while planning for the safe and speedy resumption of oil spill recovery after a storm.

“We are repositioning assets away from low-lying areas to higher ground staging areas to protect our ability to respond to the dynamic requirements of the incident.  The protection of the equipment and crew is paramount to ensure maximum ability to respond to any new challenges a storm may pose to the enormous mission. We are committed to following through with our response. There will be no reductions in effort, urgency or commitment even as we sustain the long-term relief effort,” said Zukunft.

Activities that are underway for storm preparedness include evacuating specialized vessels from the path of any severe weather to prevent damage and ensure that oil recovery operations can resume as soon as possible after a storm.  Additionally, boom is being removed from marsh areas where oil is not threatening the shore to prevent damage from the heavy equipment getting pushed into the delicate area by strong winds and high tides.

It is necessary to begin moving equipment to inland staging areas well in advance of a potential storm.  The consolidation of boom and other equipment at our inland staging areas will in no way hinder the current response operations, but will serve to protect as much of this vital resource from the elements as possible through the risky hurricane season.

Wednesday, Zukunft sent a letter to local officials to provide an update on resource protection in case of a storm.  The letter can be viewed here.






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