The Ongoing Administration-Wide Response to the Deepwater BP Oil Spill
UPDATED 6 PM
* For a full timeline of the Administration-wide response, visit the White House Blog.
PAST 24 HOURS
President Obama’s Message to Gulf Coast: We Are With You
In an op-ed published in Gulf Coast newspapers, President Obama reiterated his administration’s commitment to a strong, sustained response to one of the worst environmental disasters in our nation’s history.
“I understand the frustration and anger that the people of the Gulf Coast are feeling. I share it. But instead of allowing feelings of anger and frustration to overwhelm our efforts, we must stay focused on the work at hand,” he wrote. “We owe it to the people of the Gulf to bring this ordeal to an end, and we owe it to the American people to make sure it never happens again.”
President Obama and British Prime Minister Cameron Discuss BP Oil Spill
In a telephone conversation, President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron disussed the impact of the tragic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, reiterating that BP must do all it can to respond effectively to the situation.
Rear Admiral Watson Directs BP to Devise a More Aggressive Containment Plan within 48 Hours
Federal On-Scene Coordinator Rear Admiral James A. Watson yesterday sent a second letter to BP COO Doug Suttles—directing the company to devise a more aggressive to build greater capacity and redundancy for oil containment within 48 hours. The letter was in response to BP’s proposal, which Watson had directed BP to develop on June 8.
Watson expressed concern that BP’s current plan does not have sufficient resources to “provide the needed collection capacity consistent with revised flow estimates” and “does not go far enough to mobilize redundant resources in the event of an equipment failure with one of the vessels or some other unforeseen problem.”
Under the federal government’s direction, BP engineers continue to refine plans for two more collection systems that will use connections on the blowout preventer capture more of the leaking oil in the near term. Gas and oil flow will be collected on the drill ships Q4000 and Clear Leader. Plans to acquire equipment for long-term containment and disposal are being examined.
In its oversight role, the federal government will continue to direct BP to plan for a more aggressive response—in the same way the administration pushed for a second relief well, additional redundancy, more transparency, paying for the berms, and a more expedited claims process.
Secretary Salazar Travels to Gulf Coast to Inspect Ongoing Efforts to Protect Wildlife and Coastlines
In his ninth visit to the region, U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar traveled to Gulf Islands National Seashore to inspect the ongoing effort to protect and rehabilitate wildlife and wildlife habitats impacted by the BP oil spill. Salazar met with personnel from the National Park Service and Fish and Wildlife service, whom he praised for working tirelessly to protect sensitive coastal areas and wildlife species, observed response preparations for the barrier islands at Petit Bois Island; and joined an NPS volunteer clean-up program at Fort Pickens in Florida.
BP Continues to Capture Some Oil and Gas Using Containment Device
BP continues to capture some oil and burn some gas at the surface using its containment dome technique, which is being executed under the federal government’s direction. After cutting off a portion of the riser, BP placed a containment device over it in order to capture oil at its source.
Approved SBA Economic Injury Assistance Loans Surpass $2.2 Million
SBA has approved 54 economic injury assistance loans to date, totaling more than $2.24 million for small businesses in the Gulf Coast impacted by the BP oil spill. Additionally, the agency has granted deferments on 358 existing SBA disaster loans in the region, totaling more than $1.63 per month in payments. 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.
Administration Continues to Oversee BP’s Claims Process
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 49,254 claims have been opened, from which more than $60.2 million have been disbursed. No claims have been denied to date. There are 577 claims adjusters on the ground. To file a claim, visit www.bp.com/claims or call BP’s helpline at (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.
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 25,500 personnel are currently responding to protect the shoreline and wildlife and cleanup vital coastlines.
- More than 5,100 vessels are currently 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 2.3 million feet of containment boom and 3 million feet of sorbent boom have been deployed to contain the spill—and approximately 460,000 feet of containment boom and 2 million feet of sorbent boom are available.
- Approximately 19.3 million gallons of an oil-water mix have been recovered.
- Approximately 1.2 million gallons of total dispersant have been deployed—820,000 on the surface and 380,000 subsea. More than 540,000 gallons are available.
- More than 165 controlled burns have been conducted, efficiently removing a total of more than 3.85 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.
- 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.
- In addition, www.disasterassistance.gov has been enhanced to provide a one-stop shop for information on how to file a claim with BP and access additional assistance—available in English and Spanish.
- Any members of the press who encounter response personnel restricting their access or violating the media access policy set forth by Admiral Allen should contact the Joint Information Center. Click here for more information, including a list of regular embed opportunities.