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 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.
Administration Sends Third Bill to BP for $51.4 Million
The Obama Administration today sent a third bill for $51.4 million to BP and other responsible parties. As a responsible party, BP is financially responsible for all costs associated with the response to the spill, including efforts to stop the leak at its source, reduce the spread of oil, protect the shoreline and mitigate damages, as well as long term recovery efforts to ensure that all individuals and communities impacted by the spill are made whole.
In order to provide full transparency of the ongoing efforts and to ensure that the American public is not held accountable for the costs of response and recovery activities, the federal government bills BP and the other responsible parties regularly. BP and other responsible parties have paid the first two bills in full—totaling $70.89 million.
Secretary Salazar Swears In New Offshore Energy Management Leader
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today swore-in former Justice Department Inspector General Michael Bromwich to lead reforms that will strengthen oversight and policing of offshore oil and gas development. Bromwich will oversee the fundamental restructuring of the former Minerals Management Service, which was responsible for overseeing oil and gas development on the Outer Continental Shelf.
A Secretarial Order signed by Salazar renames the Minerals Management Service the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement as it undergoes reorganization and reform.
NOAA Research Ship Thomas Jefferson Releases Initial Observations
The NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson returned to Galveston, Texas, on June 11 from an eight-day research mission to investigate the presence and distribution of subsurface oil from the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill. While initial observations found the presence of anomalies in the water column, further analysis of water samples from Jefferson and the NOAA Ship Gordon Gunter is required before drawing conclusions.
NOAA continues to conduct a variety of research missions to study the impacts of the BP oil spill on the Gulf of Mexico—part of the federal government’s ongoing effort to engage the best scientific minds to inform response and recovery efforts.
Federal and Local Officials Hold Open House Meeting for Louisiana Residents
As part of continued efforts to inform Louisiana residents on the BP oil spill response and available assistance, representatives from the Coast Guard, Fish and Wildlife Service, EPA and state and local governments today held their fourth open house meeting in Jefferson Parish.
Experts from the various agencies participating in the BP oil spill response were on hand to discuss a variety of topics with Parish residents—including the claims process, volunteer and contracting opportunities, environmental quality, worker safety and the various tools, equipment and strategies being used in the response. Previous meetings were held in Cameron Parish, St. Bernard Parish, and St. Mary’s Parish.
NOAA Expands Fishing Restriction in the Gulf; More than 64 Percent Remains Open
As part of continued efforts to ensure the safety of seafood from the Gulf of Mexico and protect consumers, NOAA has expanded the closed fishing area in the Gulf of Mexico to capture portions of the oil slick moving beyond the current boundaries off the Florida panhandle and due south of Mississippi. The closed area now represents 86,985 square miles—approximately 36 percent—of federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico. This closure does not apply to any state waters. This leaves more than 64 percent of Gulf federal waters available for fishing. Details can be found at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/.
Fish and Wildlife Continues Efforts to Recover and Rehabilitate Oiled Wildlife
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife is leading wildlife and habitat recovery efforts in response to the BP oil spill—which includes aerial and ground surveys to assess the damage and recover oiled or injured wildlife and rehabilitation centers, where animals are cared for in preparation for release into their natural habitat.
On Sunday, FWS released 38 brown pelicans and one tern at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge and rescue and recovery teams responded to a total of 95 calls to the Wildlife Hot Line reporting oiled or injured wildlife along the Gulf Coast—including 25 in Alabama, nine in Louisiana, 20 in Florida, and six in Mississippi. To report oiled wildlife, call (866) 557-1401.
Successful Controlled Burn
In recent days, favorable weather conditions have allowed responders to conduct successful controlled burn operations. As part of a coordinated response that combines tactics deployed above water, below water, offshore, and close to coastal areas, controlled burns efficiently remove oil from the open water in an effort to protect shoreline and wildlife. In total, 255 burns have been conducted to remove more than 6.3 million gallons of oil from the water.
BP Continues to Optimize Oil Recovery Rates from its Leaking Well
Under the direction of the federal government, BP continues to capture some oil and burn gas at the surface using its containment dome technique.
In addition to the Discoverer Enterprise, which is linked by the riser pipe to the wellhead, and the Q4000, which continues to flare off additional oil and gas being brought up through the choke lines—a method that was also put in place at the government’s direction.
Approved SBA Economic Injury Assistance Loans Surpass $5.5 Million
SBA has approved 88 economic injury assistance loans to date, totaling more than $5.58 million for small businesses in the Gulf Coast impacted by the BP oil spill. Additionally, the agency has granted deferments on 441 existing SBA disaster loans in the region, totaling more than $1.96 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 email@example.com.
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. To date, 66,825 claims have been opened, from which more than $111.1 million have been disbursed. No claims have been denied to date. There are 720 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, 1,612 have been activated.
· Approximately 33,900 personnel are currently responding to protect the shoreline and wildlife and cleanup vital coastlines.
· More than 6,000 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 2.51 million feet of containment boom and 4.04 million feet of sorbent boom have been deployed to contain the spill—and approximately 585,000 feet of containment boom and 2 million feet of sorbent boom are available.
· Approximately 24 million gallons of an oil-water mix have been recovered.
· Approximately 1.43 million gallons of total dispersant have been applied—959,000 on the surface and 468,000 subsea. More than 465,000 gallons are available.
· 255 controlled burns have been conducted, efficiently removing a total of more than 6.32 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 173 miles of Gulf Coast shoreline is currently oiled—approximately 34 miles in Louisiana, 41 miles in Mississippi, 39 miles in Alabama, and 59 miles in Florida. These numbers reflect a daily snapshot of shoreline currently experiencing impacts from oil so that planning and field operations can more quickly respond to new impacts; they do not include cumulative impacts to date, or shoreline that has already been cleared.
· Approximately 87,000 square miles of Gulf of Mexico federal waters remain closed to fishing in order to balance economic and public health concerns. Sixty-four percent remains 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 O rganization and the European Union's Monitoring and Information Centre.
· 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 (713) 323-1670.
· 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.
· 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
· 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.