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Saturday, May 1, 2010 - 11:05am

Ga.Wildlife Officials 'On Standby' To Help In Gulf Oil Spill Crisis

Georgia enviromental and wildlife officials stand ready to help with the response and cleanup efforts to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

An official with Georgia's Department of Natural Resources says federal officials have an open line of communication with their top staffers concerning the enviromental disaster.

Spud Woodward, director of DNR's Coastal Resources Division in Brunswick, says the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has been giving regular updates.

Woodward says NOAA has not sent any direct inquires as of yet to DNR for help, but his division is on standby to offer whatever manpower and resources it can.

"We've got individuals who are trained in operating vessels and are knowledgeable in wildlife. So we would probably be called-in in that regard."

Woodward says if the call comes from the federal level, any help from Georgia would be coordinated through the Georgia Emergency Management Agency.

Woodward does say there is a "nightmare scenario" which could actually bring oil to Georgia's coast. That's because if the volume of spreading oil is not contained enough, some of it could get into the Gulf Stream, which connects to the shorelines of the Eastern Seaboard states.

"There's some concern if the volume of oil is not reduced somehow that we'll get quantities of oil entrained in the loop current and subsequently in the Gulf Stream and it will be brought up the eastern seaboard...which is a kind of a nightmare scenario."

Woodward says that possibility is remote, but one officials have to acknowledge could happen.

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