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Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has declared a state of emergency as an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico creeps toward shore and threatens the fragile ecosystem along the coastline.

Thursday’s order allows the state to free up resources to begin preparing for the oil to reach the shore, which could happen as soon as Friday.

The spill could affect a wide variety of wildlife, including the oysters, shrimp and other creatures that commercial fishermen depend on to make a living.

Meanwhile, the federal government has sent skimmers, booms and other resources to try and contain the spill.

Thursday, the Obama administration promptly responded to the massive oil spill now expected to reach the Gulf Coast within a day and dispatched top officials to the region in an effort to coordinate defenses against the potential environmental hazard. KHOU covered this story and here is a response from the US Coast Guard.

“We are being very aggressive and we are prepared for the worst case,” Coast Guard Rear Adm. Sally Brice-O’Hara said at the White House.

Federal officials announced inspections would begin immediately of all oil rigs in the Gulf and subpoena powers would be used in the gathering investigation. But the priority was to support the oil company BP PLC in employing booms, skimmers, chemical dispersants and controlled burns to fight the oil surging from the seabed.