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.
Skimming Capabilities Reach Fivefold Increase Since Early June
At the beginning of June, Admiral Allen announced efforts to bring more skimmers to respond to the BP oil spill. Since then, skimming capability in the Gulf has increased more than fivefold—from approximately 100 large skimmers to 550 skimming vessels of various sizes working to collect oil in all parts of the Gulf of Mexico as of today. To date, 28.2 million gallons of an oil-water mix has been skimmed from the Gulf surface.
The skimming surge has come throughout the month of June as an adaptation to the changing characteristics of the spill, which no longer presents itself as a single slick, but a massive collection of smaller patches of oil. Additional skimmers were needed and have been deployed to work those small patches at various depths and distances from the coast. The Unified Command will continue ramping up skimmer capability throughout the coming weeks, with a baseline target of more than 750 skimmers collecting oil in Gulf waters by mid July, and more by the beginning of August. To view a fact sheet on skimmers, click here.
NOAA Models Long-Term Oil Threat to Gulf and East Coast Shoreline
As part of the ongoing effort to use the state-of-the-art technology and scientific tools in response to aid response operations, NOAA is using modeling of historical wind and ocean currents to project the likelihood that surface oil from the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill will impact additional U.S. coastline.
The modeling uses the high end of the flow rate estimate, and inputs the estimated amount of oil being skimmed, burned, and collected through the containment device—and accounts for the natural process of oil weathering. For more information, click here.
Rear Admiral Zukunft Provides Update on Weather Impacts
Rear Admiral Paul Zukunft provided a briefing to inform Gulf Coast residents and answer questions about the impact weather is having on the ongoing response to the BP oil spill.
Because of elevated sea states, no skimming or burning has been conducted for two days. In addition, the weather displaced boom and made it unsafe to fly. Crews are standing by to resume skimming operations and survey inland waterways that may have seen impacts due to a storm surge. Shoreline cleanup operations continue with limited weather interruption. A transcript is available 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—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.
The Unified Command Continues to Build a Sea Turtle Observer Program
In addition to cleaning up and rehabilitating oiled wildlife, the Unified Command continues to build a sea turtle observer program for all on-water oil clean-up operations. The command’s Wildlife Branch is working now to determine when, where, and how observers can be best positioned to reduce risks posed to sea turtles by oil containment and clean-up activities—such as controlled burn and skimmer fleet operations—and will begin to train additional sea turtle observers this weekend.
Throughout the spill, federal and state biologists have been surveying for and rescuing oiled sea turtles offshore using small vessels carrying trained sea turtle collection teams. To date, more than 100 sea turtles have been collected in these directed surveys, and more than 90 percent are alive at rehabilitation facilities. For more information, click here.
Approved SBA Economic Injury Assistance Loans Top $8.5 Million
SBA has approved 133 economic injury assistance loans to date, totaling more than $9.2 million for small businesses in the Gulf Coast impacted by the BP oil spill. Additionally, the agency has granted deferments on 554 existing SBA disaster loans in the region, totaling more than $3.1 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, 92,038 claims have been opened, from which more than $143.9 million have been disbursed. No claims have been denied to date. There are 950 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, 1,622 are active.
· Approximately 43,100 personnel are currently responding to protect the shoreline and wildlife and cleanup vital coastlines.
· More than 6,900 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 2.8 million feet of containment boom and 4.95 million feet of sorbent boom have been deployed to contain the spill—and approximately 811,000 feet of containment boom and 2.3 million feet of sorbent boom are available.
· More than 28.2 million gallons of an oil-water mix have been recovered.
· Approximately 1.65 million gallons of total dispersant have been applied—1.05 million on the surface and 601,000 sub-sea. More than 465,000 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 452 miles of Gulf Coast shoreline is currently oiled—approximately 268 miles in Louisiana, 61 miles in Mississippi, 52 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 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.