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Washington D.C.
Unified Command Joint Information Center
News Release
Thursday, June 17, 2010

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 on the BP Oil Spill Response

National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen provided a briefing by teleconference to inform the American public and answer questions on the progress of the administration-wide response to the BP oil spill. A transcript is available here.

Later in the day in Port Sulphur, La., Admiral Allen provided a second briefing after returning from an airboat tour of Barataria Bay.

Federal and Local Officials Hold Third Open House Meeting for Louisiana Residents

Representatives from the Coast Guard, Fish and Wildlife Service, the Environmental Protection Agency and state and local governments held the third in a series of open house meetings for Louisiana residents in St. Mary’s Parish—providing an opportunity for those affected by the BP oil spill to engage one-on-one with experts to discuss a variety of topics, including the claims process, volunteer and contracting opportunities, environmental quality, worker safety and the various tools, equipment and strategies being used in the response. Two additional meetings were held this week in Cameron Parish and St. Bernard Parish.

EPA Hosts Conference Call on Air Quality with Gulf Coast Stakeholders

EPA officials hosted a conference call today with community and environmental groups in Louisiana to discuss the short- and long-term effects of the BP oil spill on air quality in the Gulf.

EPA continues to monitor air, water and sediment quality in the region. According to the most recent data, air quality levels for ozone and particulates are normal on the Gulf coastline for this time of year. The most recent water and sediment samples did not reveal elevated levels for chemicals that are usually found in oil.

EPA has observed odor-causing pollutants associated with petroleum products along the coastline at low levels. Some of these chemicals may cause short-lived effects like headache, eye, nose and throat irritation, or nausea. People may be able to smell some of these chemicals at levels well below those that would cause short-term health problems. Anyone experiencing these and other symptoms should call the Medical Support Hotline at (888) 623-0287.

SCAT Teams Continue to Monitor and Cleanup Impacted Shorelines

More than 40 Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Teams (SCAT)—federal, state and BP officials working to assess and determine how cleanup will be conducted, and oversee cleanup operations—continue to monitor and cleanup shorelines along the Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida coastlines.

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 $4 Million

SBA has approved 71 economic injury assistance loans to date, totaling more than $4.15 million for small businesses in the Gulf Coast impacted by the BP oil spill. Additionally, the agency has granted deferments on 411 existing SBA disaster loans in the region, totaling more than $1.79 million 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 disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

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 59,297 claims have been opened, from which more than $89.8 million have been disbursed. No claims have been denied to date. There are 667 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. Additional information about the BP claims process and all available avenues of assistance can be found at www.disasterassistance.gov.

By the Numbers to Date:

·         The administration has authorized the deployment of 17,500 National Guard troops from Gulf Coast states to respond to this crisis; to date, 1,610 have been activated.

·         Approximately 31,000 personnel are currently responding to protect the shoreline and wildlife and cleanup vital coastlines.

·         More than 6,400 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 2.42 million feet of containment boom and 3.65 million feet of sorbent boom have been deployed to contain the spill—and approximately 489,000 feet of containment boom and 1.97 million feet of sorbent boom are available.

·         Approximately 21.9 million gallons of an oil-water mix have been recovered.

·         Approximately 1.33 million gallons of total dispersant have been applied—903,000 on the surface and 423,000 subsea. More than 500,000 gallons are available.

·         More than 220 controlled burns have been conducted, efficiently removing a total of more than 5.2 million gallons of oil from the open water in an effort to protect shoreline and wildlife.

·         17 staging areas are in place to protect sensitive shorelines.

·         Approximately 80,800 square miles of Gulf of Mexico federal waters remain closed to fishing in order to balance economic and public health concerns. More than 66 percent remain open. Details can be found at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/.

·         To date, the administration has leveraged assets and skills from numerous foreign countries and international organizations as part of this historic, all-hands-on-deck response, including Canada, Germany, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization and the European Union's Monitoring and Information Centre.

Resources:

·         For information about the response effort, visit www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com.

·         For specific information about the federal-wide response, visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/deepwater-bp-oil-spill.

·         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.

·         For National Park Service updates about potential park closures, resources at risk, and NPS actions to protect vital park space and wildlife, visit http://www.nps.gov/aboutus/oil-spill-response.htm.

·         For Fish and Wildlife Service updates about response along the Gulf Coast and the status of national wildlife refuges, visit http://www.fws.gov/home/dhoilspill/.

·         For daily updates on fishing closures, visit http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov

·         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 disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

·         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.

 

For information about the response effort, visit www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com.






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