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Mexico eyes the Gulf oil spill

By Nick Valencia, CNN

(CNN) -- Five Mexican states are monitoring the Gulf oil spill, Mexico's top environment official said, according to the state-run news agency Notimex.

Juan Rafael Elvira Quesada, minister of the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (Semanat) said Wednesday the initial monitoring concerned the coasts of Tamualipas and Veracruz, but Semanat has now added the states of Tabasco, Campeche and Yucatan.

Elvira Quesada said that Mexico has developed preventive and monitoring activities aimed at the detection of hydrocarbons in national waters and coasts.

Staff from the Secretariat of the Navy (Semar) customarily monitors Mexican waters from the air, while environmental agencies monitor beaches and the Chamber of the Fishing Industry supports hundreds of boats that monitor territorial waters.

In an interview with Notimex, Elvira Quesada said ocean currents could bring the oil near Mexico by October, in a worst case scenario, but more realistically that would occur in early January 2011.

This week Elvira Quesada will meet with representatives of other ministries to study the issue.