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Gulf oil spill: Coast Guard commandant takes over the top spot in the environmental crisis

May 1, 2010 | 12:33 pm

Adm. Thad W. Allen, commandant of the Coast Guard, will take over as the top commander dealing with the massive oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico, the Obama administration announced on Saturday.

Allen is best known for taking over the federal response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in the Gulf Coast region from September 2005 to January 2006. The early response was considered a political nightmare for the Bush administration.

Allen was named national incident commander, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced in a prepared statement. He will work closely with Coast Guard Rear Adm. Mary Landry, the federal on-scene coordinator.

The appointment is part of the growing federal visibility in the disaster even as local officials have criticized the federal effort. Top officials have toured the area and President Obama is scheduled to visit on Sunday.

In addition, the White House posted a list of all of the federal actions.

--Michael Muskal