UPDATED May 17, 2010 7 PM
* For a full timeline of the Administration-wide response, visit the White House Blog.
PAST 24 HOURS
SBA Provides Direct Outreach to Affected Small Business Owners
The Small Business Administration has deployed staff to Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida to meet individually with business owners, answer questions about the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, issue loan applications, and provide help in completing the loan forms via business outreach centers.
SBA Administrator Karen Mills has made available low-interest economic injury assistance loans—and deferring the first payment for 12 months—for small businesses suffering financial losses following the oil spill in coastal regions of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi.
While small businesses are encouraged to file claims with BP, these loans can provide the critical temporary assistance needed to overcome the loss of revenue they are currently experiencing. Additionally, the agency is offering deferral opportunities for small businesses in the affected areas on existing SBA disaster loans, as well as encouraging private lenders who have borrowers in the affected areas with existing SBA-guaranteed loans to consider deferrals
Loan applications can also be made via SBA’s secure web application at www.sba.gov or over the phone at (800) 659-2955.
Gulf Coast Elected Officials Tour Response Command Posts
Florida Governor Charlie Crist and U.S. Representative Bill Young visited the St. Petersburg Incident Command Post, and Alabama Governor Bob Riley and U.S. Congressman Kendrick Meek visited the Mobile, Ala., Incident Command Post to meet with local, state and federal officials involved in the ongoing response to the BP oil spill.
Officials Continue Direct Outreach to Gulf Coast Governors
The federal government continues to engage closely with Gulf Coast Governors, and USCG Admirals are providing regular response updates via conference call directly to the Governors and their staffs.
MMS Oversight of BP Relief Well Drilling Continues
MMS reports that the Development Driller III, which is drilling the first relief well, installed the blowout preventer on the wellhead and is undergoing functional tests. The second relief well has progressed hundreds of feet into the seafloor after spudding on the morning of May 17. Spudding indicates the point in time when the drill penetrates the sea floor.
NOAA Coordinates Underwater Fish and Habitat Surveys
NOAA’s Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary is teaming up with NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution and the University of North Carolina Wilmington to conduct remotely operated underwater vehicle surveys of the fish and deep water habitats of East and West Flower Garden Banks—vital marine sanctuaries in the Gulf of Mexico.
Fishing Restrictions Expanded; Majority of Federal Waters Remain Open
NOAA modified the Gulf of Mexico commercial and recreational fishing closure area. It now measures 24,241 square miles—approximately 10 percent of the Gulf of Mexico exclusive economic zone. The majority of federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico are open to commercial and recreational fishing.
Seafood Safety Analysis Continues
NOAA Fisheries is collecting baseline samples for seafood safety analyses on the west side of the Mississippi river. Two locations were sampled and the research vessel is now moving west of the oil spill in Louisiana waters. NOAA Fisheries also contracted a fishing vessel that left Saturday morning to sample the easternmost closed fishing zone using bottom trawl gear.
By the Numbers to Date:
- Personnel were quickly deployed and more than 17,000 are currently responding to protect the shoreline and wildlife.
- More than 750 vessels are responding on site, including skimmers, tugs, barges, and recovery vessels to assist in containment and cleanup efforts—in addition to dozens of aircraft, remotely operated vehicles, and multiple mobile offshore drilling units.
- More than 1.3 million feet of containment boom and 400,000 feet of sorbent boom have been deployed to contain the spill—and approximately 360,000 feet of containment boom and 750,000 feet of sorbent boom are available.
- Approximately 6.6 million gallons of an oil-water mix have been recovered.
- Approximately 625,000 gallons of total dispersant have been deployed—580,000 on the surface and 45,000 subsea. More than 390,000 gallons are available.
- 17 staging areas are in place and ready to protect sensitive shorelines, including: Dauphin Island, Ala., Orange Beach, Ala., Theodore, Ala., Panama City, Fla., Pensacola, Fla., Port St. Joe, Fla., St. Marks, Fla., Amelia, La., Cocodrie, La., Grand Isle, La., Shell Beach, La., Slidell, La., St. Mary, La.; Venice, La., Biloxi, Miss., Pascagoula, Miss., and Pass Christian, Miss.
- To contact the Deepwater Horizon Joint Information Center, call (985) 902-5231.
- To volunteer, or to report oiled shoreline, call (866) 448-5816. Volunteer opportunities can also be found here.
- To submit your vessel as a vessel of opportunity skimming system, or to submit alternative response technology, services, or products, call 281-366-5511.
- To report oiled wildlife, call (866) 557-1401. Messages will be checked hourly.
- For information about validated environmental air and water sampling results, visit www.epa.gov/bpspill.
- To file a claim, or report spill-related damage, call BP’s helpline at (800) 440-0858. A BP fact sheet with additional information is available here. For those who have already pursued the BP claims process and are not satisfied with BP’s resolution, can call the Coast Guard at (800) 280-7118. More information about what types of damages are eligible for compensation under the Oil Pollution Act as well as guidance on procedures to seek that compensation can be found here.