The Ongoing Administration-Wide Response to the Deepwater BP Oil Spill
UPDATED 7 PM
* For a full timeline of the Administration-wide response, visit the White House Blog.
PAST 24 HOURS
Admiral Allen Provides Operational Update for Unified Area Command
National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen today provided a briefing to inform the American public and answer questions on the progress of the administration-wide response to the BP oil spill from the Incident Command Post in Houma, La., the headquarters for response operations for the state of Louisiana. A transcript is available here.
Administrator Lubchenco Outlines Role of Science BP Oil Spill Response
Admiral Allen was joined at his briefing by NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco, who outlined the critical role that science has played in the U.S. government’s response to the Deepwater BP oil spill. From the beginning, the administration’s response to this unprecedented event has been based on the best science available in both the public and private sectors, as responders have worked to measure and mitigate the impacts of the oil, monitor air and water conditions and assess any and all impacts to the environment as well as human health.
Administrator Lubchenco also highlighted the NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson, which returned to sea today to continue conducting research—including the collection of water samples and the net sampling of pelagic species throughout the water column. Read her full remarks here.
Administrator Jackson Observes Cleanup Efforts of Impacted Shoreline
Continuing her fourth trip to the Gulf Coast, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson observed ongoing efforts to survey and clean up impacted beaches and wetlands in Port Fourchon Beach, Grand Isle Beach and Cocodrie Bay, La.
Admiral Allen Approves Five Additional Barrier Island Projects to Protect Louisiana
Consistent with all the work undertaken in recent weeks to assess Louisiana’s barrier island proposal and gather input from local officials, environmental experts, and top scientists and engineers, Admiral Allen directed BP to pay for five additional barrier island projects in addition to the one he approved last week as part of our continuing commitment to do everything possible to protect our vital coastal communities from BP’s leaking oil. Based on a thorough expert analysis, the administration believes that these six total projects, which will be constructed expeditiously in the areas most at risk for long-term impact by oil, will effectively stem potential damage to these fragile shorelines.
Notifying Governor Jindal of his determination this afternoon, Admiral Allen reiterated that this administration will hold BP responsible for providing full payment for any strategy that will protect our valuable coastal communities from the impacts of their catastrophe.
Admiral Allen Announces that Response Assets are being Moved to All Gulf States
In addition, the administration is moving critical response assets across all the Gulf Coast states in preparation for potential near- and long-term oil impacts. In Alabama, the Coast Guard Cutter Cypress arrived in Mobile Bay today to protect Dauphin Island from the north and west. Tomorrow, we will commence a surge of boom to Alabama’s Katrina Pass that will be positioned to create a funnel to collect oil that comes in with the tide. Additionally, we have deployed four coast patrol boats to coordinate response in Alabama’s coastal waters.
Four helicopters are being deployed to the Alabama, Mississippi and Florida coast to provide surveillance information to help skimmers position their efforts strategically to collect the most oil threatening the shore possible. The Coast Guard Cutter Tampa has a flight deck that will allow for these helicopters to refuel offshore, and the Coast Guard Cutter Elm is currently in the area off the coast of Pensacola, Fla., working around the clock to skim oil from the surface.
Fishing Restrictions Expanded; One Section Re-Opened; 63 Percent Remains Open
NOAA has expanded some boundaries of the closed fishing area in the Gulf of Mexico to capture portions of the slick moving beyond the current boundaries—the most significant expansion includes an area off southwest Florida that covers waters just to the west of the Dry Tortugas—this federal closure does not apply to any state waters. Closing fishing in these areas is a precautionary measure to ensure that seafood from the Gulf will remain safe for consumers. Additionally, the agency reopened a 2,637 square mile area of the western-most boundary south of Louisiana. Oil was projected to be in this area, but was never actually observed there.
The closed area now represents 88,502 square miles, which is approximately 37 percent of Gulf of Mexico federal waters. This leaves more than 63 percent of Gulf federal waters available for fishing. Details can be found at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/.
Property Damage Claims Processed
The administration will continue to hold the responsible parties accountable for repairing the damage, and repaying Americans who’ve suffered a financial loss as a result of the BP oil spill. BP reports that 31,987 claims have been opened, from which more than $40.2 million have been disbursed. No claims have been denied to date. There are more than 510 claims adjusters on the ground. To file a claim, visit www.bp.com/claims or call BP’s helpline at 1-800-440-0858. 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.
SBA Approves Additional Deferments on Existing SBA Disaster Loans
The Small Business Administration has granted deferments on 219 existing SBA disaster loans for small businesses in the Gulf Coast region impacted by the BP oil spill, totaling $892,300 per month in payments—in addition to the 33 economic injury assistance loans, totaling $1,192,300, for impacted small businesses in Louisiana. For information on assistance loans for affected businesses, visit the SBA’s Web site at www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance, call (800) 659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the hearing impaired), or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
By the Numbers to Date:
- The administration has authorized 17,500 National Guard troops from Gulf Coast states to participate in the response to the BP oil spill.
- More than 20,000 personnel are currently responding to protect the shoreline and wildlife and cleanup vital coastlines.
- More than 1,900 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.
- Approximately 2 million feet of containment boom and 2.1 million feet of sorbent boom have been deployed to contain the spill—and approximately 625,000 feet of containment boom and 1.8 million feet of sorbent boom are available.
- Approximately 13.8 million gallons of an oil-water mix have been recovered.Approximately 993,000 gallons of total dispersant have been deployed—755,000 on the surface and 238,000 subsea. More than 364,000 gallons are available.
- 125 controlled burns have been conducted, efficiently removing a total of more than 3.2 million gallons of oil from the open water in an effort to protect shoreline and wildlife.
- 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 with BP, visit www.bp.com/claims or call BP’s helpline at (800) 440-0858. A BP fact sheet with additional information is available here. 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.
For information about the response effort, visit www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com.