Gov. Riley declares State of Emergency to prepare for oil slick

MONTGOMERY, AL – Governor Bob Riley has declared an official state of emergency due to the imminent threat posed by the oil approaching Alabama's coastline.

The emergency declaration enables the Governor to invoke various emergency preparedness measures to make sure state agencies are ready to respond if and when the oil reaches Alabama's shores.

"This oil leak poses a serious threat to our environment and economy," Governor Riley said. "With our natural resources, our businesses and our coastal communities in harm's way, Alabama can't afford to take anything for granted. Our state agencies have been working with federal agencies to prepare Alabama for an unprecedented environmental disaster."

In his state of emergency declaration, Governor Riley directs state agencies to assist communities affected by the oil leak. He also directs ADEM and the Alabama Emergency Management Agency "to make the appropriate assessments of damages and seek the necessary state, private and federal assistance for the affected areas."

Governor Riley's emergency declaration comes after days of briefings with officials from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Coast Guard, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) and other state agencies. The Governor this week has taken two aerial tours over the gulf to survey the oil leak and observe the magnitude of the hazard approaching Alabama's coastline.

Governor Riley participated in a conference call with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and fellow gulf coast governors to discuss response measures. He said an emergency declaration is the next step toward ensuring Alabama is properly prepared to respond.