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 NOAA Administrator Lubchenco Provide an Update 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 the administration-wide response to the BP oil spill. A full transcript is available here.
Admiral Allen discussed the ongoing preparations for the static kill procedure and drilling the relief well. He also briefed on a barge that crashed into a state-owned well near Barataria Bay, La.—approximately 6,000 feet of boom has been positioned around the well to contain the oil.
Dr. Lubchenco gave a detailed description of the scientific analysis NOAA is conducting to determine the fate of oil that has leaked into the Gulf. “NOAA scientists are deployed throughout the Gulf helping to assess where the oil has gone, where it will go and to determine the extent of the damages to the Gulf seacoast system,” Lubchenco said. “We know that a significant amount of the oil has disbursed and been biodegraded by naturally occurring bacteria. Bacteria that breaks down oil are naturally abundant in the Gulf of Mexico in large part because of the warm water there and the conditions afforded by nutrients and oxygen availability.”
“While there’s more analysis to be done to exactly quantify the rate of biodegradation, early indications show that the light crude oil is being, is biodegrading quickly. When oil is dispersed into smaller bits from the use of dispersants or by weathering it’s even easier for the bacteria to get to it and to consume it,” she continued. “We’re currently doing a very careful analysis to better understand where the oil has gone and where the remaining impacts are most likely to occur. To do this we’re working with the best scientific minds in the government as well as independent scientific community to produce an estimate of just how much oil has been skimmed, burned, contained, evaporated and dispersed.”
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, the pressure continues to rise, demonstrating that it has integrity, and is currently at 6,928 pounds per square inch.
Preparations Continue to Resume Relief Well Drilling
Development Driller III has completed running the riser and latched onto the wellhead and is preparing to remove the storm packer and perform a well conditioning run. Development Driller II is conducting maintenance and will hold operations and await results of the DDIII relief well.
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
Sediment results collected along the Gulf Coast on July 14 found combined PAHs (poly-aromatic hydrocarbons) exceeding aquatic chronic water benchmarks. At this level, these oil related organic compounds may cause risk to aquatic life. To see all EPA data on air, water and sediment quality relating to the BP oil spill, click here. EPA officials also met with local elected officials and residents in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida.
FWS Personnel Continue Wildlife Rescue and Recovery Missions Across the Region
At the St. Vincent’s National Wildlife Refuge, FWS staff excavated and relocated Loggerhead sea turtle eggs. From the Houma, La., Incident Command Post, 245 personnel, 84 vessels and 4 helicopters participated in reconnaissance and wildlife rescue and recovery missions. From the Mobile, Ala., Incident Command Post, 24 two-person wildlife recovery teams and 24 support personnel participated in wildlife recovery operations and received 24 calls on the Wildlife Hotline. To report oiled wildlife, call (866) 557-1401.
Approved SBA Economic Injury Assistance Loans Surpass $17 Million
SBA has approved 195 economic injury assistance loans to date, totaling more than $17 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; More than $250 Million Disbursed
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, 130,856 claims have been opened, from which more than $250 million have been disbursed. No claims have been denied to date. There are 1,230 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, 1,720 are active.
- More than 24,800 personnel* are currently responding to protect the shoreline and wildlife and cleanup vital coastlines.
- More than 4,200 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 845,000 feet of containment boom and 2.48 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 640 miles of Gulf Coast shoreline is currently oiled—approximately 362 miles in Louisiana, 108 miles in Mississippi, 70 miles in Alabama, and 100 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.
*Following the temporary suspension of some response operations due to then Tropical Storm Bonnie, some personnel and equipment has been reactivated in recent days. All numbers are tallied at 6:00 a.m. in the morning and reflect totals from the previous 24-hour period.
- 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.
- 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.