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 discussed the progress being made in connecting the Helix Producer to the floating riser pipe, NOAA’s monitoring of weather in the Gulf of Mexico and its potential impacts on cleanup operations, and the status of plans to replace the current containment cap.
Federal and State Officials Develop a Partnership to Determine Safe Fishing Areas
As part of the ongoing efforts to ensure the safety of seafood coming from the Gulf, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and state authorities have agreed upon a shared protocol that will be used by federal and state officials to determine when it is safe to-reopen waters for seafood harvesting. This protocol was announced by Vice President Biden during his visit to the Gulf Coast last week.
FDA Continues Its Inspection of Seafood Processors to Ensure Health and Safety
FDA continues to inspect primary seafood processors along the Gulf Coast to ensure compliance with existing controls to guard against chemical contaminants in the processing of seafood. The FDA has a toll-free number (888-INFO-FDA) for questions or concerns about seafood or to report any seafood suspected of being contaminated with oil.
Authorities Continue Their Safety Oversight to Protect Response Workers
In order to protect responders and workers, the National Institute of Environmental Sciences has developed two safety and awareness courses as well as a 40-hour training module on hazardous waste operations and emergency response (HAZWOPER). Nearly 50,000 individuals throughout the Gulf Coast region have completed the two-to-four hour safety and awareness courses and more than 1,000 people have finished the HAZWOPER training.
CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is monitoring workers involved in the clean-up effort: identifying job duties and locations, training, and personal protective equipment used. This will be used to track worker health over time. So far information from approximately 27,000 workers has been entered into the NIOSH system.
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 has begun connecting a floating riser pipe to 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.
Fish and Wildlife Continues Efforts to Recover and Rehabilitate Oiled Wildlife
Wildlife rescue and recovery crews continue to survey affected areas using hundreds of personnel and dozens of vessels, as well as numerous airboats and helicopters to protect Gulf Coast wildlife and habitats from the effects of the BP oil spill. On Monday, rescue and recovery teams responded to a total of 49 calls to the Wildlife Hotline reporting oiled or injured wildlife along the Gulf Coast. To report oiled wildlife, call (866) 557-1401.
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 E nforcement have been deployed as part of the response.
Approved SBA Economic Injury Assistance Loans Top $10.9 Million
SBA has approved 142 economic injury assistance loans to date, totaling more than $10.9 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, 96,302 claims have been opened, from which more than $148.7 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, 1,548 are active.
· More than 45,700 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 2.97 million feet of containment boom and 5.39 million feet of sorbent boom have been deployed to contain the spill—and approximately 888,000 feet of containment boom and 2.4 million feet of sorbent boom are available.
· More than 28.6 million gallons of an oil-water mix have been recovered.
· Approximately 1.72 million gallons of total dispersant have been applied—1.07 million on the surface and 646,000 sub-sea. More than 412,000 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 484 miles of Gulf Coast shoreline is currently oiled—approximately 287 miles in Louisiana, 71 miles in Mississippi, 62 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, the European Union's Monitoring and Information Centre, and the European Maritime Safety Agency.
· 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.