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.
Allen was joined by Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Jordan Barab, who discussed his agency’s efforts to protect the health and safety of workers participating in the response. OSHA has more than 150 personnel in the Gulf to monitor worker safety and health and inform workers on how to best protect themselves—which includes distributing educational materials in English, Spanish and Vietnamese.
Containment Cap Operations Suspended; Severe Weather Impacting Today’s Cleanup
While the capture of oil and gas through the blowout preventer’s choke line to the Q4000 vessel on the surface continues, the use of the lower marine riser package (LMRP) containment cap was temporarily suspended today when a discharge of liquids was observed from a diverter valve on the drill ship Discoverer Enterprise. As a precautionary measure, the LMRP containment cap system, which is attached to the Discover Enterprise, was removed to ensure the safety of operations and allow the unexpected release of liquids to be analyzed.
Severe weather conditions across southeast Louisiana also impacted some of the regularly scheduled cleanup and response efforts in the area. Safety of all personnel is vital to the success of this operation, and crews will resume cleanup operations as soon as possible.
Prior to the suspension, the Discoverer Enterprise and the Q4000 recovered more than 27,000 barrels of oil in the most recent 24-hour period—the largest daily collection amount to date.
Administration Releases its First Scientific Report on Subsea Monitoring Data
NOAA, EPA and White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) today released the first peer reviewed, analytical summary report about the subsea monitoring in the vicinity of the Deepwater Horizon wellhead—which contains analysis of samples taken by the R/V Brooks McCall, a research vessel conducting water sampling from half a mile to nine miles of the wellhead—part of continued efforts to engage the brightest scientific minds to confront the worst environmental disaster the country has ever faced.
The report comes from the Joint Analysis Group (JAG), which was established to facilitate cooperation and coordination among the best scientific minds across the government and provide a coordinated analysis of information related to subsea monitoring in the Gulf of Mexico. This comprehensive analysis helps define the characteristics of the water and presence of oil below the surface in the area close to the wellhead from May 8-25.
Federal and Local Officials Hold Joint Open House Meeting in Orleans Parish
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 held their fifth joint open house meeting in Orleans 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, Jefferson Parish and St. Mary’s Parish.
FWS Returns 63 Birds to the Wild in Largest Release of Rehabilitated Birds to Date
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released 62 rehabilitated brown pelicans and one rehabilitated northern gannet at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge on the Texas Coast—the largest release of rehabilitated birds since the spill began—part of continued efforts by FWS and National Park Service personnel to protect Gulf Coast wildlife and habitats from the effects of the BP oil spill. Currently, FWS has 499 personnel in the Gulf to coordinate and supervise search and capture for oiled wildlife and help facilitate recovery and treatment.
Oil Removed from Water by Controlled Burn Operations Surpasses 10 Million Gallons
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, 275 burns have been conducted to remove more than 10 million gallons of oil from the water.
NOAA Opens More Than 8,000 Square Miles of Fishing Closed Area in the Gulf of Mexico
NOAA has opened more than 8,000 square miles of previously closed fishing area in the Gulf of Mexico, because the agency has not observed oil in the area. The most significant opening is an area due south of Mississippi. Additionally, some smaller areas were opened off the Louisiana and central Florida coasts. These areas were initially closed as a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of seafood from the Gulf because oil was projected to be within those areas.
The closed area now represents 78,597 square miles—approximately 32.5 percent—of federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico. This closure does not apply to any state waters. This leaves more than 67 percent of Gulf federal waters available for fishing. Details can be found at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/.
Approved SBA Economic Injury Assistance Loans Surpass $5.94 Million
SBA has approved 98 economic injury assistance loans to date, totaling more than $5.94 million for small businesses in the Gulf Coast impacted by the BP oil spill. Additionally, the agency has granted deferments on 465 existing SBA disaster loans in the region, totaling more than $2.13 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, 72,563 claims have been opened, from which more than $123 million have been disbursed. No claims have been denied to date. There are 731 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; currently, 1,585 are active.
- Approximately 35,600 personnel are currently responding to protect the shoreline and wildlife and cleanup vital coastlines.
- More than 6,300 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 2.57 million feet of containment boom and 4.17 million feet of sorbent boom have been deployed to contain the spill—and approximately 790,000 feet of containment boom and 2.1 million feet of sorbent boom are available.
- Approximately 25.4 million gallons of an oil-water mix have been recovered.
- Approximately 1.47 million gallons of total dispersant have been applied—972,000 on the surface and 493,000 subsea. More than 445,000 gallons are available.
- 275 controlled burns have been conducted, efficiently removing a total of more than 10 million gallons of oil from the open water in an effort to protect shoreline and wildlife. Because calculations on the volume of oil burned can take more than 48 hours, the reported total volume may not reflect the most recent controlled burns.
- 17 staging areas are in place to protect sensitive shorelines.
- Approximately 166 miles of Gulf Coast shoreline is currently oiled—approximately 34 miles in Louisiana, 41 miles in Mississippi, 43 miles in Alabama, and 48 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 78,600 square miles of Gulf of Mexico federal waters remain closed to fishing in order to balance economic and public health concerns. More than 67 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 Organization and the European Union's Monitoring and Information Centre.
- 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.
- 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.