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More gear needed for oil spill cleanups

  |   April 1, 2009 at 6:15 PM
SEATTLE, April 1 (UPI) -- A Washington state task force says authorities aren't as ready as they think they are for a major oil spill in Puget Sound.

A report released Tuesday by the state's Oil Spill Advisory Council, a task force created to oversee oil spill programs, contends that despite spending tens of millions each year preparing for major spills, Washington's efforts still have big holes, the Seattle Times reported Wednesday.

"I strongly feel we need to be better prepared," said council chairman Mike Cooper, urging that state officials demand much more clean-up equipment from the oil industry. Cooper said the state should possess enough gear to remove 70 percent of an Exxon Valdez-size spill within two days, the newspaper said.

The report asserts that even under ideal conditions in the fierce currents of Puget Sound, only 20 percent to 40 percent of a 2.1-million-gallon oil spill could be sucked up within two days, a level that's far below targets set by the state.

"I'm here to tell you, every piece of equipment in the world, if it was brought to bear, couldn't do that," Richard Wright of the industry-funded non-profit Marine Spill Response told the newspaper.

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