A severe tropical storm would be doubly catastrophic in the aftermath of the BP oil disaster in the gulf. Such a storm could carry oil from the sea to the land, contaminating homes, businesses, farms, and even drinking water. Preparations for such an event must begin now so that every step to safeguard people and their communities can be undertaken. This includes preparing for food or water contamination, disrupted commerce or agriculture, and other impacts of gallons of oil raining from the sky. This effort must not wait until a tropical storm is days away from landfall because it will be too late.
A first step would be fully mobilizing the National Guard immediately in the most vulnerable gulf states—Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. This would provide guard units time to organize and prepare. Also, the U.S. Coast Guard should lead a federal task force that could form a “blue team” to lead training exercises for a government response to a severe storm or other exigency linked to the BP oil disaster.
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