Governor: National Guard staging for “effort to evacuate” communities impacted by oil spill

Sunday, June 13, 2010
By Paul Martin

Governor Jindal Sends Letters to Dept. of Defense and Dept. of Homeland Security Requesting National Guard to Support Oil Spill Response Efforts

Baton Rouge: Governor Bobby Jindal sent the following letters to the Secretaries of the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security requesting that the Louisiana National Guard be utilized to support the oil spill response efforts under federal Title 32 status. By sending this letter, the Governor is preparing to mobilize the resources of the Louisiana National Guard and seeking reimbursement in support of their efforts being coordinated by the federal lead agencies.

Honorable Robert M. Gates
Secretary of Defense
U.S. Department of Defense
Washington, DC 20310

Dear Secretary Gates:

I request that you approve funding for at least 90 days of military duty in Title 32 USC 502(f) status for up to 6,000 Soldiers and Airmen serving on active duty in support of our response to the threat of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill to the State of Louisiana. Title 32 status will allow the members of the National Guard supporting the response to the oil spill to receive military retirement points, health insurance and disability protection.

I am requesting that you consider funding this mission by arranging for an Economy Act transaction pursuant to 31 USC, Chapter 1535, such that environmental disaster funds available to other Federal Agencies can be employed. Further, in accordance with the Oil Pollution Control Act of 1990, Title 33 USC, Chapter 40 Section 2702, the owners of the Deepwater Horizon facility responsible for this oil spill should be required to provide full reimbursement for all costs and damages associated with the oil spill as well as the recovery efforts in the State of Louisiana.

The President has designated the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill as an event of “National Significance.” Currently the oil spill is projected to reach the coast of Louisiana today, April 29, 2010. I am prepared to order the Louisiana National Guard to state active duty in order to respond to this threat to Louisiana’s fragile coast line. Louisiana is host to several federal wildlife refuges and management areas which are in the direct path of the oil spill. The Pass-a-Loutre Wildlife Management Area at the mouth of the Mississippi River is predicted to be the first wildlife refuge affected by the oil spill.

The National Guard will provide security, medical capabilities, engineers and communication support in response to this threat. Currently, our Soldiers and Airmen are staging for and are engaged in the planning of the effort to evacuate and provide security and clean up for the coastal communities expected to be impacted by the oil spill. They are engaged in the protection of vital infrastructure to include medical facilities, fuel distribution, interstate highways, water-ice distribution and power facilities which are all vital to the recovery of coastal Louisiana.

I believe these National Guard operations are necessary and appropriate to protect this region of our nation from a significant national event with potential catastrophic loss of natural resources. Louisiana is home to many federal and state military facilities including the NSA New Orleans, the operations of which could be effected.

Thank you for consideration of this request.

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