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Letter to Admiral Thad W. Allen, Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard; Janet Napolitano, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security; Gary Locke, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce

Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr., co-chairman of the House Coastal Caucus, and 29 members of Congress Tuesday sent a letter to U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad Allen, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke regarding concerns about the possible effects of the oil spill on the Eastern Seaboard.

In the letter, Pallone requests science-based predictions on the long-term trajectory of the oil spill and a coordination plan and preparedness report for all states along the Eastern Seaboard which should include a response for the worst-case scenario. While a scenario where oil contaminates the coastline of the Eastern Seaboard is unlikely, Pallone and others want to have a plan of response in place.

New Jersey's economy and the economies of most coastal states rely heavily on the tourism industry which would be significantly impacted by oil washing ashore. In New Jersey, tourism accounts for approximately $50 billion in revenue and the livelihoods of New Jersey's small business owners, fishermen, and others who live and work along the coast would be affected.

June 23, 2010

Admiral Thad W. Allen
Commandant
United States Coast Guard
2100 Second Street, SW
Washington, DC 20593

The Honorable Janet Napolitano
Secretary
United States Department of Homeland Security
Washington, DC 20528

The Honorable Gary Locke
Secretary
United States Department of Commerce
1401 Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20230

Dear Admiral Allen, Secretary Napolitano, and Secretary Locke:

As members of the U.S. House of Representatives representing the Atlantic Coast, we write to you today regarding the potential impacts of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill on our coastal communities. We realize it is by no means certain that the spill will impact the Eastern Seaboard. However, given the scope of the spill, we believe it is necessary to plan for all possible trajectories.

We respectfully request that the federal government coordinate with states and local officials to provide up-to-date scientific information on the trajectory of the oil spill. We echo the sentiments put forth by our colleagues in the Senate with the following requests:

* We ask that the Department of Homeland Security immediately begin coordinating with all state emergency preparedness agencies along the Atlantic Coast, providing full information about how best to prepare for managing an oil spill and ensuring that these states are properly equipped for the worst-case scenario.

* We ask that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration begin developing and disseminating official, science-based predictions about the long-term direction of the oil spill and chemical dispersants, that NOAA make frequent updates to these projections and that they be publicly available. We appreciate the current projections NOAA develops and posts on its website, but these estimates are limited to a 72-hour period. We fully understand that projecting the spill's direction weeks or months in advance is extremely difficult, but it would be helpful to know the statistical probabilities of oil hitting various Atlantic Coast locations.

Our coastal communities rely heavily on tourism and recreational and commercial fishing as an integral part of their economies. We look forward to a healthy and prosperous summer beach season and we expect our beaches to be open and safe for our residents to enjoy. Regardless, it is important that our states have all necessary information relating to the oil spill and its potential impact on the Atlantic coast. Thank you for your consideration of these important requests. We stand ready to assist you in any way possible.

Sincerely,

FRANK PALLONE, JR. WALTER B. JONES
Member of Congress Member of Congress

JERROLD NADLER MIKE MCINTYRE
Member of Congress Member of Congress

TIMOTHY H. BISHOP BARNEY FRANK
Member of Congress Member of Congress

JOHN H. ADLER MICHAEL H. MICHAUD
Member of Congress Member of Congress

ROSA L. DELAURO CAROL SHEA-PORTER
Member of Congress Member of Congress

PATRICK J. KENNEDY ALBIO SIRES
Member of Congress Member of Congress

ANTHONY D. WEINER JAMES R. LANGEVIN
Member of Congress Member of Congress

PETER T. KING GARY L. ACKERMAN
Member of Congress Member of Congress

DONALD M. PAYNE G.K. BUTTERFIELD
Member of Congress Member of Congress

FRANK A. LOBIONDO JOHN F. TIERNEY
Member of Congress Member of Congress

STEVEN R. ROTHMAN C.A. DUTCH RUPPERSBERGER
Member of Congress Member of Congress

JAMES A. HIMES CAROLYN B. MALONEY
Member of Congress Member of Congress

ROBERT C. "BOBBY" SCOTT NITA M. LOWEY
Member of Congress Member of Congress

JAMES P. MCGOVERN JOSEPH CROWLEY
Member of Congress Member of Congress

MICHAEL N. CASTLE JOHN P. SARBANES
Member of Congress Member of Congress


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