MOBILE, AL - A 24 hour hotline number is being set up to help authorities quickly catch suspects who vandalize or steal protective booms along Alabama's coastline.
The booms are designed to keep pollutants, like the oil spilling into the Gulf, from reaching shore.
"Cutting or vandalizing the booms can expose sensitive areas to environmental harm," said Major Chris Blankenship, Chief Enforcement Officer with the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. "Anyone caught destroying, disturbing or stealing boom will be prosecuted," he added.
Anyone who spots illegal activity related to the booms is asked to call 251-476-1256.
The move to provide the hotline number comes as a result of reports of boaters driving and cutting through boom. Thousands of feet of boom has been placed along the state's coast to protect its vital resources and waterways. Officials are also concerned that broken or loose boom poses a navigational hazard to the boaters and commercial shipping traffic.
The Alabama Department of Environmental Management is the lead agency for the state's response to the oil spill under the Unified Command.