State News

Perdue: State is very prepared if oil comes to coast

Posted June 15, 2010 9:53 a.m. EDT
Updated June 15, 2010 6:10 p.m. EDT

— North Carolina is updating its oil recovery plan in response to the massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, Gov. Bev Perdue said Tuesday.

"Hope is not a course of action. North Carolina is very prepared for whatever comes out way," Perdue said during a meeting with legislative and local government leaders.

A computer model by the National Center for Atmospheric Research shows that oil leaking from the well could enter the Gulf's loop current and the Gulf Stream and reach North Carolina shores.

Researchers say oil could threaten East Coast beaches by early next month, but they caution the models are not a forecast.

"We have no reason to believe that any oil is coming to our coast," Perdue said. "We are prepared and will always be prepared for the very worst and hope for the very best."

If oil did reach the coach, Perdue said experts told her it would be significantly diluted.

Perdue has ordered the State Emergency Response Team to update its oil recovery plan by June 21. The plan, created in 1989 after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, is updated annually.

The United States Coast Guard has a plan to deal with the oil spill within 200 miles of the coast, she said.

Perdue said protecting North Carolina's coast involves five basic steps, including sharing information with the public and other states. In addition, biologists are taking samples of air, water and marine life to establish a baseline for later testing. An inventory is also being taken of the state's resources. The state will also be monitoring the situation through the coast guard and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.