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.
BP Responds to Admiral Allen’s Letter Directing BP to Provide More Detailed Plans and Timelines
Yesterday, Admiral Allen sent a letter to BP Chief Managing Director Bob Dudley directing BP to provide him—within the next 24 hours—with more detailed plans and timelines relating to efforts to stop the leaking oil and protect the shoreline.
BP today responded with a letter containing details on those plans and timelines, which in part, are still being finalized in a meeting today with federal representatives and a team of government scientists led by Secretary Chu. Throughout this response, the federal government has directed BP to develop more detailed plans, create redundancy measures in case those plans fail, and apply additional resources to the largest response to an oil spill in our nation’s history.
FWS Relocates Approximately 100 Turtle Eggs; Releases Three Rehabilitated Pied-Billed Grebes Back to Wild
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) today participated in the relocation of approximately 100 turtle eggs from the northern Gulf of Mexico to the East Coast of the Florida Peninsula. The eggs were carefully removed from their nests and packed into coolers before being transported to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.
Yesterday, FWS released three rehabilitated pied-billed grebes—rescued from Perdido Key, Miramar, and Gulf Breeze beaches in Florida—at Lake Talquin, near Tallahassee, Fla.
Governor Charlie Crist joined members of FWS, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, and Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research, to participate in the release.
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 Thursday, rescue and recovery teams responded to a total of 168 calls to the Wildlife Hotline reporting oiled or injured wildlife along the Gulf Coast. To report oiled wildlife, call (866) 557-1401.
HHS Provides Resources on Mental Health Issues Related to the BP Oil Spill
As part of continued efforts to address the many health impacts of the BP oil spill, the Department of Health and Human Services is working to raise awareness about mental health issues that may affect Gulf Coast residents. Click here for resources on dealing with mental health issues.
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 is in the process of connecting 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.
The graph below, produced by the Department of Energy, demonstrates the cumulative amount of oil recovered to date, combining the containment cap and the Q4000.
Progress Continues in Drilling Relief Wells
The Development Driller III has drilled the first relief well to a depth of 17,780 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 14,500 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 $11.7 Million
SBA has approved 150 economic injury assistance loans to date, totaling more than $11.7 million for small businesses in the Gulf Coast impacted by the BP oil spill. Additionally, the agency has granted deferments on 601 existing SBA disaster loans in the region, totaling more than $3.4 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, 103,013 claims have been opened, from which more than $162.6 million have been disbursed. No claims have been denied to date. There are 999 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, 1,571 are active.
· More than 47,400 personnel are currently responding to protect the shoreline and wildlife and cleanup vital coastlines.
· More than 6,600 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.
· More than 3.02 million feet of containment boom and 5.65 million feet of sorbent boom have been deployed to contain the spill—and approximately 900,000 feet of containment boom and 2.1 million feet of sorbent boom are available.
· More than 28.7 million gallons of an oil-water mix have been recovered.
· Approximately 1.75 million gallons of total dispersant have been applied—1.07 million on the surface and 681,000 sub-sea. Approximately 386,000 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 534 miles of Gulf Coast shoreline is currently oiled—approximately 288 miles in Louisiana, 91 miles in Mississippi, 65 miles in Alabama, and 90 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, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Qatar, Russia, Spain, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, 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.RestoreTheGulf.gov.
· 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.