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Maine DEP To Lend A Hand In Gulf Coast Clean Up Efforts 

As the largest oil spill in US history continues to worsen the Maine DEP is sending equipment and crew to help out.Late last week, BP decided to take them up on their previous offer to lend a hand. 25 responders from the Maine DEP volunteered for the job. 6 volunteers and two skimmer boats from Maine head out early Tuesday morning.Thomas Smith is the supervisor for the crew heading down. “The initial team will go down, every team is going to go down for two week rotations,” he said, “so we’ll work seven days a week for two weeks and then the same crew will go down and work the same schedule. I don’t know how long we’ll be in the gulf total, but the initial plan is at least through the summer.”In addition to the boats, the crew will also bring a trailer full of equipment to keep them safe. “We have respiratory protection, air monitoring equipment, protective clothing, boats and that sort of thing, gloves. so we can protect ourselves from the effects of this particular product,” Smith says.The crews will work 12 hour days. While there are concerns, the crew heading down has been training for this type of work. “The reason it’s exciting for us to go, it’s going to be the largest oil spill, hopefully, for a very long time,” Smith says, “and it will give us an opportunity to assist the states down there. To clean up the environment, to make things a little bit better in our own small way with our own equipment. And it seems counterintuitive to leave the equipment here in the warehouse when we think it could do some good in the gulf.”