Battleground States React to Terrorist Strikes

 

New York, Virginia and Maryland remained in a state of emergency Wednesday after terrorists, in what looms as the deadliest attack in U.S. history, rammed hijacked passenger jets into Manhattan's World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

In all three states, hundreds of National Guard units were mobilized or on standby to help with security, search and rescue efforts and the treatment of casualties.

"In the wake of (Tuesday's) cowardly and horrific attack on the World Trade Center, we have launched an unprecedented emergency response effort to save lives, treat the injured and help New York City recover," New York Gov. George Pataki said

As part of that effort, the New York guard deployed, for the first time ever, a federally-certified Civil Support Team with a mission to assist in identifying hazardous materials related to the disaster In addition, the guard moved 117 pieces of engineering equipment into Manhattan for use in recovery efforts in the city.

Two hundred New York State Police troopers were in New York City at the time of the attack and an additional 300 were dispatched overnight.

Pataki said the New York State Legislature would convene in special session Thursday to deal with issues arising from the catastrophic events. For official state information on New York's response, click on Pataki.

Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore said approximately 600 members of Army and Air National Guard units from eight communities in his state were on full-duty status because of Tuesday's attacks. The Pentagon is located in northern Virginia.

"These nine National Guard units ... are trained and experienced in missions that require ground transportation, engineering heavy equipment for debris removal and clearance, law enforcement, medical aid, helicopter transport and jet fighter support," said Gilmore who heads a state-federal task force on terrorism.

You'll find more information on Virginia's actions by clicking on Gilmore.

In Maryland, which also includes a portion of metropolitan Washington, Gov. Parris Glendening said he had declared a state of emergency in order to make military, medical and other resources of his state available.

As was the case elsewhere in the country, military installations in Maryland were on high alert. Glendening told Washington, D.C.'s WTOP radio Tuesday that he had ordered tightened security at the state capital complex in Annaplolis and the World Trade Center building in Baltimore as well.

While Americans reacted with shock, dismay and anger to the coordinated attacks that killed hundreds, if not thousands of people, there were scattered reports of attempts to profiteer from the situation.

Texas Attorney General John Cornyn said his office would respond to price-gouging complaints against retail gasoline stations, motels, hotels and other businesses across the state that provide transportation, shelter and related necessities.

"Price-gouging in the wake of Tuesday's disasters in New York City and Washington, D.C., is illegal and violates the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act," he said. "Legal action can and will be taken by the Office of Attorney General to enforce the law and protect Texans from such despicable business practices."

In Kansas, where gasoline prices soared to as high as $4 a gallon in some locations in the immediate aftermath of the attacks, Gov. Bill Graves sounded a similiar warning. "We are witnessing large increases in prices at the pumps. I will not tolerate people profiteering from this national tragedy," Graves said. For more information click on Topeka Capitol Journal.

Officials in Kentucky, Ohio, Oklahoma, Illinois, Mississippi, Michigan, Minnesota and New Jersey said they too were looking into allegations of price-gouging.

Dozens of states closed or limited access to official buildings after Tuesday's attacks. As distant from the scene of the attacks as North Dakota, officials activated some National Guard troops, tightened border crossings with Canada and increased security at the state capitol. But Gov. John Hoeven told The (Fargo) Forum the moves were just precautions.

State leaders throughout the country said they were ready to provide whatever assistance was required.

"While terrorists may be able to attack our buildings, they cannot attack the foundation of American democracy," said executive director William Pound of the National Conference of State Legislatures.

"On behalf of the nation's Governors, I would like to offer our deepest condolences to all those affected by yesterday's horrific tragedy. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to the families of the victims, and our thanks go out to the men and women who have put themselves in harm's way as part of the massive rescue operations that are underway," said Michigan Gov. John Engler, acting in his capacity as chairman of the National Governors' Association .

Engler said the governors especially offer support and assistance to Govs. Pataki, Gilmore and Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania, where a fourth hijacked plane crashed Tuesday.

"We stand willing to help in whatever way possible," he said.

 
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