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
The President Receives a Briefing From Senior Officials on the BP Oil Spill Response
President Obama and Vice President Biden received a briefing today from National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change Carol Browner, and other senior administration officials on the BP oil spill.
Secretary Napolitano and Admiral Allen provided a situational update and an overview of available resources responding to the crises. The administration’s science team provided an update on oil containment efforts and plans to increase the capacity to capture more oil and eventually kill the well. The briefing also covered hurricane projections and their potential impacts on the response, the ongoing efforts to ensure seafood safety and the use of dispersants, and environmental impacts on wildlife, National Parks and other sensitive coastal shorelines and habitat.
Admiral Allen and Robert Gibbs Provide Operational Update on the BP Oil Spill Response
National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen joined White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs at his daily 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.
The Coast Guard and EPA Send a Directive to BP on Oil Spill Waste Management
The Coast Guard and the EPA issued a directive to BP on how the company should manage recovered oil, contaminated materials and liquid and solid wastes recovered in cleanup operations from the BP oil spill—a measure taken in consultation with the states to hold BP accountable for the implementation of the approved waste management plans. Under the directive, EPA will begin sampling the waste, in addition to sampling already being done by BP, to help verify that the waste is being properly managed. For more information, click here.
78 Brown Pelicans Are Released Back to the Wild; 400 Birds Rehabilitated to Date
In the largest bird release since the BP oil spill began, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) released 78 rehabilitated brown pelicans back to the wild at the Brunswick Coast Guard Station in Georgia. 400 rehabilitated birds have been released to date.
Wildlife rescue and recovery crews—including nearly 600 FWS personnel—continue to survey affected areas using vessels, airboats and helicopters. These missions are conducted routinely as well as under guidance of tips received via the Wildlife Hotline. To report oiled wildlife, call (866) 557-1401.
NOAA Ship Departs to Research the Effects of the Oil Spill on Endangered Whales
As part of continued efforts to engage the brightest scientific minds from across the federal government, academia and the private sector in the response to the BP oil spill, the NOAA ship Gordon Gunter departed today to continue its mission to evaluate the effects of the spill on whales and dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico, including the endangered sperm whale.
NOAA scientists will partner with leading researchers from Cornell University, Oregon State University, and Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and monitor the distributions and movements of whales over the next several months. The ship will also be measuring water characteristics and using acoustics to measure the amount of plankton, fish, and squid, the primary food for whales. For more information on NOAA vessels conducting scientific research, click here.
FWS, NOAA, FedEx and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Partner to Protect Sea Turtle Nests and Eggs
In a unique public-private partnership that demonstrates the unprecedented resources and coordination being brought to bear in response to the BP oil spill, FedEx Corporation is joining efforts to protect sea turtle nests and eggs in the Gulf of Mexico from potential oil spill impacts—donating resources and the expertise of logistics specialists to transport hundreds of nests containing thousands of eggs to Florida’s Atlantic Coast.
The company is coordinating efforts with scientists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, NOAA, state and local agencies, and the non-profit National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
Mobile and Florida Incident Commands Provide Local Operational Updates
Coast Guard Commander Joe Boudrow, Deputy Incident Commander for Florida, and Coast Guard Commander Charles Diorio of the Mobile Incident Command provided a briefing to inform local residents and answer questions about the ongoing response to the BP oil spill.
Boudrow and Diorio reported on the impact of weather on operations (elevated sea states have halted offshore skimming efforts in recent days); provided specifics on the amount of skimmers, boom and other resources deployed in their respective regions; and explained the various shoreline cleanup tactics that are used for different types of oil impacts. They also discussed oversight efforts to ensure that BP is giving local residents first priority when hiring for the Vessels of Opportunity program
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—collecting oil aboard the Discoverer Enterprise, which is linked by a fixed riser pipe to the wellhead, and flaring off additional oil and gas on the Q4000, which is connected to the choke line. The collection capacity is expected to increase to an estimated 53,000 barrels per day once the third vessel, the Helix Producer, is connected to the floating riser pipe—a redundancy measure also taken at the administration’s direction.
Progress Continues in Drilling Relief Wells; Ranging Process Continues
The Development Driller III has drilled the first relief well to a depth of approximately 17,000 feet below the Gulf surface. The Development Driller II has drilled the second relief well—a redundancy measure taken at the direction of the administration—to a depth of more than 12,500 feet below the surface. BP continues 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.
Approved SBA Economic Injury Assistance Loans Top $8.5 Million
SBA has approved 129 economic injury assistance loans to date, totaling more than $8.5 million for small businesses in the Gulf Coast impacted by the BP oil spill. Additionally, the agency has granted deferments on 541 existing SBA disaster loans in the region, totaling more than $2.9 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 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. To date, 89,916 claims have been opened, from which more than $137.8 million have been disbursed. No claims have been denied to date. There are 951 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, 1,573 are active.
· Approximately 42,700 personnel are currently responding to protect the shoreline and wildlife and cleanup vital coastlines.
· More than 7,000 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 2.78 million feet of containment boom and 4.94 million feet of sorbent boom have been deployed to contain the spill—and approximately 813,000 feet of containment boom and 2.14 million feet of sorbent boom are available.
· More than 28.2 million gallons of an oil-water mix have been recovered.
· Approximately 1.61 million gallons of total dispersant have been applied—1.03 million on the surface and 590,000 sub-sea. More than 506,000 gallons are available.
· 275 controlled burns have been conducted, efficiently removing a total of approximately 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 428 miles of Gulf Coast shoreline is currently oiled—approximately 259 miles in Louisiana, 52 miles in Mississippi, 46 miles in Alabama, and 71 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 80,228 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 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, France, Germany, Japan, 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 email@example.com.
· 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.