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. He addressed contingency plans that would be implemented in the event of a hurricane or tropical storm entering the Gulf of Mexico—and the threshold of gale force winds that would require the responding vessels in the vicinity of the Deepwater Horizon drilling site to be evacuated. A transcript is available here.
Director Bromwich Announces New Oversight and Enforcement Initiatives
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement Director Michael Bromwich—the former Department of Justice Inspector General who now leads Interior Department reform initiatives to strengthen oversight and policing of offshore oil and gas development—announced that he will establish an investigations and review unit to expedite his oversight, enforcement and re-organization mandates.
The new unit will provide the capacity to investigate allegations of misconduct, unified and coordinated monitoring of compliance with laws and regulations, and be able to respond swiftly to emerging and urgent issues on a bureau-wide level and in the offshore energy industry.
Fifth NOAA Ship Adds to Ongoing Research Efforts in the Gulf Coast
NOAA Ship Delaware II departed Key West, Fla., to collect tunas, swordfish and sharks and compile data about the conditions these highly migratory species are experiencing in the Gulf of Mexico. During its two-week mission, the research vessel will use longline fishing gear to capture the fish, and assess their environment using sophisticated water chemistry monitoring instruments.
Two other NOAA ships—Pisces, one of NOAA’s newest research vessels, and the ship Oregon II—are in the midst of surveys of reef fish, bottom-dwelling fish, and shrimp in the eastern and western Gulf of Mexico to sample for seafood and water quality and species abundance as part of the oil spill response. For a complete list of vessels involved in NOAA’s ongoing efforts to engage the best scientific minds to monitor water quality and ensure the health and safety of seafood, click here.
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, despite a temporary interruption earlier this week. In addition to the oil collection aboard 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 line, collection capacity is expected to increase when a third vessel arrives next week and is attached to the kill line.
Progress Continues in Drilling Relief Wells
The Development Driller III continues to drill the first relief well to a depth of approximately 16,200 feet (11,000 feet below the sea floor), and crews have begun the process of cementing and casing the well liner. The Development Driller II has drilled the second relief well—a redundancy measure taken at the direction of the administration—to a depth of approximately 11,800 feet (6,500 feet below the sea floor).
BP has started the “ranging” process—which involves periodically withdrawing the drill pipe and sending an electrical signal down to determine how close they are getting to the wellbore.
More than 500 Fish and Wildlife Service Personnel Deployed to Protect Vital Wildlife
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service continues to coordinate and supervise search and capture for oiled wildlife—dispatching 528 staff to conduct aerial flights to identify oiled wildlife and helping facilitate recovery and treatment, and leading numerous bird survey teams in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida to determine the extent of the oil impact on birds. To report oiled wildlife, call the Wildlife Hotline at (866) 557-1401.
Approved SBA Economic Injury Assistance Loans Top $6.5 Million; Deferments on Existing Disaster Loans Surpass $2.5 Million per Month
SBA has approved 109 economic injury assistance loans to date, totaling more than $6.5 million for small businesses in the Gulf Coast impacted by the BP oil spill. Additionally, the agency has granted deferments on 493 existing SBA disaster loans in the region, totaling more than $2.5 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, 77,915 claims have been opened, from which more than $125.9 million have been disbursed. No claims have been denied to date. There are 839 claims adjusters on the ground. To file a claim, visitwww.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, 1,618 are active.
· Approximately 37,000 personnel are currently responding to protect the shoreline and wildlife and cleanup vital coastlines.
· More than 6,500 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 2.63 million feet of containment boom and 4.41 million feet of sorbent boom have been deployed to contain the spill—and approximately 825,000 feet of containment boom and 2.23 million feet of sorbent boom are available.
· Approximately 26 million gallons of an oil-water mix have been recovered.
· Approximately 1.51 million gallons of total dispersant have been applied—998,000 on the surface and 515,000 subsea. More than 494,000 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 179 miles of Gulf Coast shoreline is currently oiled—approximately 34 miles in Louisiana, 42 miles in Mississippi, 42 miles in Alabama, and 61 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.
· 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.