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
Crews Continue to Assess the Effects of Recent Weather on Response Operations; Skimming Operations Resume
Crews in Louisiana and along the Gulf Coast continue to repair boom and survey for additional oil deposits after heavy weather moved through the area last week. Heavy winds and waves have blown sand across beaches, burying oil and displacing boom. Normalized sea states have allowed skimming operations to resume. The number of skimming vessels involved in the response has increased more than fivefold in the past month, and more than 31.3 million gallons of an oil-water mix have been recovered through the use of skimmers to date.
BP Continues to Optimize Oil Recovery Rates; Prepares to Increase Collection Capacity
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. BP also continues to put the necessary equipment in place to connect a third vessel, the Helix Producer, which will increase collection capacity to an estimated 53,000 barrels per day by bringing up additional oil up through the kill line—a redundancy measure also taken at the administration’s direction.
Progress Continues in Drilling Relief Wells; Ranging Process Continues
The drilling of relief wells continues and has not been interrupted by elevated sea states. The Development Driller III has drilled the first relief well to a depth of more than 17,700 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 approximately 13,900 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.
NOAA Expands Fishing Restriction in the Gulf; More than 66 Percent Remains Open
As a precautionary measure 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 include portions of the oil slick moving beyond the area’s current northwestern boundary, off the Louisiana federal-state waterline. This boundary was moved westward off Vermilion Bay. The closed area now represents 81,181 square miles—approximately 33.5 percent—of federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico. This closure does not apply to any state waters. This leaves more than 66 percent of Gulf federal waters available for fishing. Details can be found at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/.
Officials Relocate Fort Jackson Bird Rehabilitation Center to a More Secure Area
In an effort to minimize harm and stress on animals in rehabilitation during the storm season, the Unified Command announced that the Fort Jackson Bird Rehabilitation Center will be moved to a more secure, fit-for-purpose building—to a facility that is less likely to be subject to a hurricane evacuation.
The current building in Buras, La., facility has more than met the needs of the response efforts and the wildlife that has come into its care, including contributing to the release of 400 rehabilitated brown pelicans back to the wild. However, its location along the coast in a phase one hurricane evacuation zone makes it subject to evacuation and damage from tropical storms or hurricanes. The new facility is located in Hammond, La., north of the three phase hurricane evacuation zones.
Wildlife rescue and recovery crews continue to survey affected areas for oiled wildlife in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. To date, more than 1000 personnel from the Department of the Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, U.S. Geological Survey and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement have been deployed as part of the response.
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, 95,387 claims have been opened, from which more than $147.2 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, 1,577 are active.
· More than 45,000 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 2.96 million feet of containment boom and 5.3 million feet of sorbent boom have been deployed to contain the spill—and approximately 888,000 feet of containment boom and 2.8 million feet of sorbent boom are available.
· More than 31.3 million gallons of an oil-water mix have been recovered.
· Approximately 1.7 million gallons of total dispersants have been applied—1.07 million on the surface and 634,000 sub-sea. More than 250,000 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 492 miles of Gulf Coast shoreline is currently oiled—approximately 275 miles in Louisiana, 70 miles in Mississippi, 61 miles in Alabama, and 86 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 81,181 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 Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Qatar, Russia, Spain, United Kingdom, Tunisia 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.