CHHS Director says Gulf oil spill could qualify for federal disaster declaration

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WASHINGTON — Although federal disaster declarations usually follow hurricanes and other natural calamities, the manmade oil spill in the Gulf could conceivably qualify as well, experts said Tuesday.

Federal law "gives the president enough leeway," said Michael Greenberger, director of the University of Maryland Center for Health and Homeland Security.

"If this threatens substantial harm to the health and safety and economy of the state, I think he could use the Stafford Act," Greenberger said, in reference to the main disaster response law.

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