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 Federal On-scene Coordinator Admiral Zukunft Provide an Update on the BP Oil Spill Response
National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen and Federal On-scene Coordinator Admiral Paul Zukunft 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 provided a sequence of operations for proceeding with the static kill procedure and the drilling of the relief well. Admiral Zukunft recognized the 100th day of the response and discussed the evolution of the spill so far and anticipated response priorities going forward, including plans to develop a boom recovery strategy—to remove boom where it is no longer necessary in order to prevent further damage to marshes and sensitive areas, resulting from boom displacement during storms.
NOAA Ships, Aircraft and Scientist Continue to Support BP Oil Spill Response
As part of ongoing efforts to use the best scientific tools available in the response to the BP oil spill, NOAA continues to play a vital role in the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill response and use all scientific methods at its disposal, including satellites in space, planes in the air, ships on the water, autonomous underwater vehicles and gliders under the water, and scientists in the field.
There are five NOAA vessels currently operating in the Gulf of Mexico with missions ranging from seafood safety to detecting submerged oil. In addition, two NOAA aircraft are conducting aerial surveillance to observe marine life and measure surface oil density and thickness, and rescue boats continue to search for oiled or injured sea turtles. For a complete list of NOAA activities in response to the spill, click here.
Preparations Continue to Resume Relief Well Drilling
Development Driller III has removed the subsea containment device, or packer—which was put in place to protect the well while the site was evacuated due to severe weather—and continues preparations to complete the drilling of the relief well. Development Driller II is conducting maintenance and will hold operations and await results of the DDIII relief well. Development Driller III has drilled the first relief well to a depth of 17,864 feet below the Gulf surface and Development Driller II has 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.
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 6,942 pounds per square inch.
FWS Releases 36 Rehabilitated Birds Back to the Wild
As part of continued efforts to protect wildlife and wildlife habitats in the Gulf of Mexico from the impacts of the BP oil spill, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today released 20 brown pelicans at Goose Island State Park in Texas. The birds were rehabilitated at Ft. Jackson and Hammond Wildlife Rehabilitation Centers in La., and the Oiled Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Gulfport, Miss. FWS also released 13 laughing gulls, 2 royal terns, and 1 sandwich tern that were rehabilitated at the Hammond Wildlife Rehabilitation Center at Rockefeller State Wildlife Refuge in Grand Chenier, La. To date, more than 550 rehabilitated birds have been released back to the wild.
Shoreline Cleanup Operations Continue Along the Gulf Coast
Fish and Wildlife Service and National Parks Service continue cleanup operations on NPS lands and FWS refuges along the Gulf Coast. A 314-person crew collected 628 bags and 35 pails of oiled debris during at Fort Pickens and Santa Rosa Island, Fla.
Approved SBA Economic Injury Assistance Loans Surpass $17.3 Million
SBA has approved 201 economic injury assistance loans to date, totaling more than $17.3 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; 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, 132,826 claims have been opened, from which more than $255 million have been disbursed. No claims have been denied to date. There are 1,267 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, 1,708 are active.
· More than 29,200 personnel* are currently responding to protect the shoreline and wildlife and cleanup vital coastlines.
· Approximately 4,400 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 3.48 million feet of containment boom and 7.86 million feet of sorbent boom have been deployed to contain the spill—and approximately 905,000 feet of containment boom and 2.5 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 625 miles of Gulf Coast shoreline is currently oiled—approximately 360 miles in Louisiana, 105 miles in Mississippi, 66 miles in Alabama, and 94 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.
· 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.