Pentagon Okays More National Guard Troops for Spill Response

Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

(Dow Jones Newswires), May 4, 2010

The Pentagon has approved requests from three southern states to bankroll the deployment of thousands of National Guard troops to help respond to the massive oil slick off the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates gave "verbal approval" to requests from governors for 6,000 troops for Mississippi, 3,000 for Alabama and 2,500 for Florida, spokesman Colonel Dave Lapan told reporters.

Gates previously endorsed a request from Louisiana for 6,000 troops, of which 1,200 have been activated so far, Lapan said.

Members of Louisiana's National Guard were providing assistance at a joint operations center and helping with sandbagging efforts in two
parishes, he said.

Two C-130 aircraft equipped with aerial spraying gear were sent down last week but have been hampered by poor weather, flying only one mission over the weekend, he said.

"But weather forecasters have conditions improving, so they're hopeful to get out today," Lapan said.

At least 210,000 gallons of crude a day has been streaming into the Gulf from a well below a British Petroleum rig that sank on April 22,
two days after a massive explosion that killed 11 workers.

The Pentagon will fund the National Guard deployments initially but British Petroleum is obliged to reimburse the federal government for
the costs of the clean up work, officials said.

Copyright (c) 2010 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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