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 and Administrator Lubchenco Provide an Update on Tropical Depression Bonnie and its Impact on the BP Oil Spill Response
National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen and NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco provided a briefing to inform the American public and answer questions on Tropical Depression Bonnie and its impacts on the progress of the administration-wide response to the BP oil spill. Bonnie has since been downgraded to a disorganized area of low pressure. A full transcript is available here.
Administrator Lubchenco discussed Bonnie’s expected impact on oil in the Gulf of Mexico. “We do not expect any significant storm surge along the coast. Because Bonnie has weakened, all tropical storm warnings along the Northern Gulf Coast have been discontinued.
“We expect that Bonnie should help dissipate and weather the oil that's at the surface. It will spread the surface slick out and thereby lower oil concentrations. It's expected to break tar patches and tar mass into smaller tar balls which means faster weathering and faster natural biodegradation,” she said. “It will also cause more natural dispersion, again lowering the concentration of oil in the water and making it more available to the natural bacteria that are in the water that do this natural biodegradation.”
Admiral Allen provided an update on pressure readings of the wellhead. “As of last night at midnight, we had 6,891 pounds per square inch pressure. This was an increase of 14 pounds per square inch over the last 24 hour time period,” he said. “So we continue having integrity at the well head. The pressure continues to slowly rise.”
Allen also discussed estimated timelines for resuming preparations for the static kill and relief well drilling operations once the equipment is reconnected. “I think probably within 48 hours, they'll be able to start relaying that casing which is the final piece of pipe they have to put into the well bore, and then once that casing is in place, they will put some cement around it to hold it. While that cement is drying, within 48 hours, they will be able to begin the hydrostatic top kill putting the mud down the top of the well,” he said.
“It will probably take somewhere between five and seven days for that cement to dry and for them to be in position to be able to actually drill into the well annulus itself. So if you add all that up we're probably looking at somewhere between seven to ten days before we would be able to start the well intercept after the Development Driller III is on scene and has latched up.”
Personnel Continue Wildlife Rescue and Recovery Missions Across the Region
From the Houma, La., Incident Command Post, a total of 244 personnel, 84 vessels and four helicopters participated in reconnaissance and wildlife rescue and recovery missions. From the Mobile, Ala., Incident Command Post, 11 two-person teams, 19 support personnel responded to 25 Wildlife Hotline calls. To report oiled wildlife, call (866) 557-1401.
Currently, more than 950 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.
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, 1,676 are active.
· Approximately 30,100 personnel* are currently responding to protect the shoreline and wildlife and cleanup vital coastlines.
· More than 3,700 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 3.43 million feet** of containment boom and 7.82 million feet of sorbent boom have been deployed to contain the spill—and approximately 835,000 feet of containment boom and 2.72 million feet of sorbent boom are available.
· More than 34.7 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 577,000 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 637 miles of Gulf Coast shoreline is currently oiled—approximately 362 miles in Louisiana, 109 miles in Mississippi, 70 miles in Alabama, and 96 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 57,539 square miles of Gulf of Mexico federal waters remain closed to fishing in order to balance economic and public health concerns. Approximately 76 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.
*The decreases in personnel and equipment are a result of the temporary suspension of some response operations due to Bonnie, which has been downgraded from a tropical depression to a disorganized area of low pressure.
**Boom deployed numbers have dropped due to pre-storm recovery operations. Once recovered, this boom must be decontaminated, repaired, inspected, and certified before being staged or redeployed.
· 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.