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 an Update on the Well Integrity Test and Response Efforts
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 federal government’s authorization for BP to continue the well integrity test for another 24 hours, and reported on efforts to look for anomalies in pressure readings and collect acoustic, sonar and seismic data. Allen also discussed the potential for severe weather in the Gulf—which is being closely monitored in cooperation with NOAA—and continued efforts to clean up impacted shorelines.
Coast Guard Capt. James Hanzalik is Named Incident Commander for Louisiana
Capt. James Hanzalik, the U.S. Coast Guard 8th District Chief of Response, has assumed the role of Louisiana Incident Commander for the ongoing response to the BP oil spill. Capt. Roger Laferriere, Louisiana Incident Commander for the Deepwater Horizon Response, has returned to California to resume his role as Sector Commander Los Angeles/Long Beach after a 60-day deployment, after aggravating an existing medical condition, which required him to depart a few weeks earlier than his planned rotation date.
Federal and Local Officials Hold a Joint Open House Meeting in Vermilion Parish
As part of continued efforts to inform Louisiana residents on the BP oil spill response and available assistance, representatives from the Coast Guard, NOAA, Fish and Wildlife Service, Environmental Protection Agency, and state and local governments held a joint open house meeting in Vermilion Parish, La.
Experts from the various agencies participating in the BP oil spill response were on hand to discuss a variety of topics with Parish residents—including the claims process, volunteer and contracting opportunities, environmental quality, worker safety and the various tools, equipment and strategies being used in the response. Previous meetings were held in Cameron Parish, Jefferson Parish, Lafourche Parish, New Iberia Parish, Orleans Parish, St. Bernard Parish, and St. Mary’s Parish.
Worker Safety Inspectors Conduct Preliminary Inspection of New FWS Bird Rehabilitation Facility
As part of continued efforts to protect the health and safety of response personnel, worker safety inspectors from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Occupational Health and Safety (OHS), the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and BP safety staff members conducted a preliminary inspection of the new bird rehabilitation facility in Hammond, La. The new facility is located outside of the Phase III hurricane evacuation zones and a capacity of 30,000 square feet—enough space to care for approximately 2,000 birds. The new facility will replace the Fort Jackson Bird Rehabilitation Facility in Buras, La., and is expected to open on July 23.
Successful Controlled Burn
Favorable weather conditions allowed responders to conduct a successful controlled burn operation. As part of a coordinated response that combines tactics deployed above water, below water, offshore, and close to coastal areas, controlled burns efficiently remove oil from the open water in an effort to protect shoreline and wildlife. To date, 411 controlled burns have removed nearly 11.14 million gallons of oil from the water.
Clean-up Operations Continue on NPS Lands and FWS Refuges Along the Gulf Coast
In cooperation with the Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Parks Service tested an alternative way of removing tar balls from the beaches of Perdido Key using two “sifters”—rotary systems that lift sand onto a conveyor, allowing clean sand to fall through while capturing tar balls and debris at the rear of the machine. To date, approximately 1,000 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.
Approved SBA Economic Injury Assistance Loans Surpass $15 Million
SBA has approved 180 economic injury assistance loans to date, totaling more than $15 million for small businesses in the Gulf Coast impacted by the BP oil spill. Additionally, the agency has granted deferments on 707 existing SBA disaster loans in the region, totaling more than $3.7 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, 119,012 claims have been opened, from which more than $220 million have been disbursed. No claims have been denied to date. There are 1,118 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, 1,644 are active.
· Approximately 42,500 personnel are currently responding to protect the shoreline and wildlife and cleanup vital coastlines.
· Nearly 5,300 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 3.47 million feet of containment boom and 7.48 million feet of sorbent boom have been deployed to contain the spill—and approximately 815,000 feet of containment boom and 3.2 million feet of sorbent boom are available.
· More than 34.5 million gallons of an oil-water mix have been recovered.
· Approximately 1.84 million gallons of total dispersant have been applied—1.07 million on the surface and 771,000 sub-sea. Approximately 577,500 gallons are available.
· 411 controlled burns have been conducted, efficiently removing a total of more than 11.14 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 631 miles of Gulf Coast shoreline is currently oiled—approximately 364 miles in Louisiana, 110 miles in Mississippi, 69 miles in Alabama, and 88 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 83,927 square miles of Gulf of Mexico federal waters remain closed to fishing in order to balance economic and public health concerns. More than 65 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 Argentina, Belgium, Canada, China, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Qatar, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, 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.