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 BP Oil Spill Response
National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen provided a briefing to inform the American public and answer questions on the administration-wide response to the BP oil spill at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C. He was joined by Admiral Dr. Jim Galloway, Senior Health Official to the National Incident Command, who briefed on the continued efforts to protect the health and safety of responders and Gulf Coast residents.
Admiral Allen discussed the ongoing efforts to search for oil and boom displaced by the storm and resume preparations for the static kill procedure and completion of the relief well. He also reiterated the administration’s commitment to continue cleanup operations in the Gulf Coast for as long as it takes.
“At some point, we hope—I think everybody hopes—there will be no oil on the water. At that point, we’re going to have to figure out how we make a transition in our resources. We’ve set up a couple of teams to start looking at that. I’ll probably start a round of meetings myself with local leaders to talk about how we deal with Vessels of Opportunity—how they’re best applied, how we can jointly continue to do what we need to do out there,” he said.
“But let me make this really clear to everybody: no matter what the demand signal is for Vessels of Opportunity, no matter how much oil is on the water, the commitment to continue this cleanup onshore or in the marshes, to continue to make sure that we all agree on how clean is clean, that we hold BP accountable—this will continue far after the relief well is completed. That is our total commitment; that will be our commitment. And how exactly that transition takes place, we will involve the local community leaders and make that as robust a discussion as we can.”
Seismic and Acoustic Testing Continue to Ensure the Integrity of the Wellhead
In order to ensure the integrity of the wellhead and search for and respond to anomalies, the research vessel Geco Topaz is conducting seismic surveys of the seafloor around the wellhead, and the NOAA Ship Gordon Gunter is conducting acoustic surveys—part of continued efforts to use the best scientific tools available in response to the BP oil spill. As of this morning, pressure readings continue to hold steady at more than 6,900 pounds per square inch.
Preparations Continue to Resume Relief Well Drilling
After a temporary suspension of operations as a precautionary measure to protect the safety of response personnel and evade the threat of then Tropical Storm Bonnie, Development Driller II and Development Driller III have returned to the well site and are making preparations to resume drilling the relief wells. This afternoon, Development Driller III was latched in, meaning the riser pipe is connected to the lower marine riser package in preparation for the lowering of the drill string.
Before suspending operations, Development Driller III had drilled the first relief well to a depth of 17,864 feet below the Gulf surface and Development Driller II had drilled the second relief well—a redundancy measure taken at the direction of the administration—to a depth of 15,963 feet below the surface.
EPA Continues to Monitor Air, Water and Sediment Quality along the Gulf Coast
Surface water samples collected along the Louisiana Coast on July 18, found levels of nickel that exceeded chronic aquatic life benchmarks—which may cause risk to aquatic life. To see all EPA data relating to the BP oil spill, click here. EPA officials also met with local elected officials, community groups and local residents in a series of meetings in Alabama and Mississippi.
FWS Personnel Continue Wildlife Rescue and Recovery Missions Across the Region
From the Mobile, Ala., Incident Command Post, 20 two-person teams and 20 support personnel participated in wildlife rescue and recovery missions in response to calls on the Wildlife Hotline, and Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) beach bird survey teams resumed operations. Field operations in the Houma Command Sector rescue oiled and injured wildlife also resumed today—after being temporarily suspended during the storm to protect the safety of response personnel and allow them to move to higher ground. To report oiled wildlife, call (866) 557-1401.
Approved SBA Economic Injury Assistance Loans Surpass $16.6 Million
SBA has approved 191 economic injury assistance loans to date, totaling more than $16.6 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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, 128,697 claims have been opened, from which more than $246 million have been disbursed. No claims have been denied to date. There are 1,236 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, 1,721 are active.
· Approximately 9,500 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 3.41 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 638 miles of Gulf Coast shoreline is currently oiled—approximately 362 miles in Louisiana, 109 miles in Mississippi, 70 miles in Alabama, and 97 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. All numbers are tallied at 6:00 a.m. in the morning and reflect totals from the previous 24-hour period.
**The decrease in the total amount of oil-water mix recovered corrects an accounting error for volumes collected on July 22.
· 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 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.