Alabama governor confident in oil containment efforts

Governor Bob Riley on Tuesday flew in an Alabama National Guard Blackhawk helicopter to view efforts to protect Alabama's coast from the oil slick out in the gulf (photo source Robin Cooper, Governor's Office)
Governor Bob Riley on Tuesday flew in an Alabama National Guard Blackhawk helicopter to view efforts to protect Alabama's coast from the oil slick out in the gulf (photo source Robin Cooper, Governor's Office)

By Dennis Washington

MOBILE, AL (WBRC) - Alabama Gov. Bob Riley said he believes the state will be able to stop oil from overtaking the coastline.

"As long as we have the time... I think we can."

Riley spoke Tuesday at a news conference in Mobile after taking a helicopter tour of the Alabama coastline. Riley, along with the U.S. Coast Guard and BP officials, surveyed efforts underway to stop oil if it does reach the coastline.

"This truly is a team effort, and i think as long as we see this oil spill continuing to diminish, it gives us much more confidence we are going to be able to control it," Riley said.

BP officials and the Coast Guard said Tuesday the oil slick was moving slower than predicted and, in some places, had actually shrunk.  The oil slick was more than 30 miles away from the Alabama coastline and was not expected to reach the Alabama coast until Friday at the earliest.

Earlier Tuesday, reports from Louisiana said the oil slick had reached shore, but state and BP officials said Tuesday afternoon they had not found the oil slick along the coastline.

BP said more than 10,000 people had signed up as volunteers to help with containment and cleanup efforts. In addition, more than 1,000 boat applications had been submitted from boat owners offering their vessels to help.

BP also offered some good news on efforts to stop the oil leak.  The company said it was very close to sealing one of the three leaks on the ocean floor.  It hoped to have that part of the pipe capped and sealed by Wednesday morning.

In addition, BP said a 72 ton, 4-story, steel container it plans to use to funnel the leaking oil to the surface will depart for the wreckage site at noon Wednesday. BP said if all goes well and the structure works as intended, it could begin capturing more than 80 percent of the leaking oil by Monday.

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