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How long will the political fall out from the spill delay plans to expand U.S. offshore drilling

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April 30, 2010

Louisiana mobilizes National Guard, BP gets bill

The Pentagon has authorized activation of the Louisiana National Guard to help in Deepwater Horizon oil spill clean-up efforts -- and is sending the bill to BP. A statement issued today said:

"In response to the BP oil spill, the Secretary of Defense is authorizing under Title 32 the mobilization of the Louisiana National Guard to help in the ongoing efforts to assist local communities in the cleanup and removal of oil and to protect critical habitats from contamination. As the responsible party in this incident, the government will hold BP accountable for the costs of the deployment."

The authorization comes in response to a request made yesterday by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.

Today, Governor Bobby Jindal said the National Guard would provide security, medical capabilities, engineers, clean-up efforts and communication support and was prepared to have 600 guardsmen on the ground as part of the first deployment.

He also said that the Guard is in the process of ordering 1,500 suits so its soldiers can handle material affected by oil.

The National Guard is not the only additional manpower Louisiana will deploy. Even the Department of Corrections is being called on to play its part. It will train inmates in oil spill clean-up efforts so they can assist the federal lead agencies.

For its part, BP says that it today continued to ramp up its response to the oil spill. It said that over 2,500 personnel are now involved in the response effort and well-advanced preparations are being made for a major protection and cleaning effort on the shorelines of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. A fourth onshore command center, in Mobile, Alabama, opened yesterday.

"In the past few days I have seen the full extent of BP's global resources and capability being brought to bear on this problem, and welcome the offers of further assistance we have had from government agencies, oil companies and members of the public to defend the shoreline and fight this spill," said Tony Hayward, BP Group Chief Executive. "We will be judged by the success we have in dealing with this incident and we are determined to succeed."

Work is progressing to install marine protection booms along the coast. As well as almost 220,000 feet of boom already in the water, an additional 300,000 feet is staged or in the process of being deployed, with more on the way.

The onshore activity is focused on five locations in the potentially affected states: Venice, Louisiana; Pascagoula and Biloxi, Mississippi; Mobile, Alabama; and Pensacola, Florida. Staging posts are in place stocked with people and material, including about 100,000 feet of boom, to protect the shoreline in each area. In addition, a sixth staging post is now being set up in Port Sulphur, Louisiana.

Hayward added: "BP is fully committed to taking all possible steps to contain the spread of the oil spill. We are taking full responsibility for the spill and we will clean it up, and where people can present legitimate claims for damages we will honour them."

BP says it is making continuing attempts to prevent oil escaping from the subsea well, 5,000 feet below the surface; collecting and separating the oil which enters the water; deploying innovative technology to disperse the oil at its seabed source; and drilling a relief well to permanently isolate and secure the leaking BP has also called on expertise from other companies including Exxon, Shell, Chevron and Anadarko to help it activate the blow out preventer, and to offer technical support on other aspects of the response.

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