Source: Shreveport Times

Although he doesn’t believe Tropical Storm Bonnie will be a serious problem, Gov. Bobby Jindal on Thursday declared a state of emergency “just in case.”

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In a press conference at the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security, Jindal said the storm was moving at 14 miles per hour across the Gulf headed for Louisiana or northeast Texas but the fast speed was “good for Louisiana” because it wouldn’t have much time to build strength. However, it was spending a lot of time over water, instead of land which would break it up.

“It’s wise to prepare for a Category 1 hurricane, just in case,” the governor said, even though forecasters don’t expect it to be more than a tropical storm.

Forecasters’ “cone of error” includes the entire Louisiana coast, so at this point it’s difficult to tell where it might go, he said. Landfall is expected around 2 p.m. Sunday.

The biggest worry, state officials said, is that winds and high tides would drive the Deepwater Horizon oil far up into Louisiana’s marshes, which serve as nurseries for much of the nation’s seafood. If that happens, it could also enter coastal homes and camps.

“There’s a potential for winds and waves to drive oil inland,” Jindal said. With 427 miles of coast already affected, “we don’t need additional oil in our marshes.”

Jindal said the state Department of Environmental Quality will monitor any such occurrence and will inspect any homes that are affected to determine if it is safe for residents to move back in. He said BP wil be held accountable for any damages caused by oil intrusion.

Agriculture Secretary Mike Strain instructed cattlemen along the coast to secure their livestock to prevent any exposure to oil or consumption of oily grass.

The governor said bad weather has caused BP to stop drilling a relief well and it could take as long as two weeks to reposition the drill ship and get back online.

There’s a 40 percent chance of tropical storm force winds at the site of the leaky well, so the Coast Guard instructed BP to keep the underwater cap in place.

Parishes with low-lying areas that usually flood during storms are expected to issue evacuation orders today as the disturbance moves closer to the state.

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