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. He was joined by Major General Garry Dean from Tyndall Air Force base. A full transcript is available here.
Major General Dean gave an overview of the Air Force’s role in the response—managing the air space in the vicinity of the well and along the Gulf coastline and facilitating the collection of aerial surveillance data and communicating that information to response crews on the water and on the shoreline.
Admiral Allen reiterated the administration’s commitment to long-term recovery in the Gulf. “We are on scene. We are fully staffed and ready to go. Let me restate to the American public and the people of the Gulf coast: we are here to see this thing through to the finish,” he said. Our forces are ready to deploy. We are going to make sure this well is killed, make sure the oil on the surface is responded to, and make sure the shores are clean—and how clean is clean is something we will develop with our local leaders and the trustees of all of the resources that are applied as we move forward.”
NOAA: Gulf’s Surface Oil Not a Threat to Southern Florida, Keys, and East Coast
Southern Florida, the Florida Keys, and the East Coast are not likely to experience any effects from the remaining oil on the surface of the Gulf as the oil continues to degrade and is hundreds of miles away from the loop current, according to a new NOAA analysis—including aerial and satellite-based observations of surface oil and monitoring of the loop current. This analysis assumes the Deepwater Horizon/BP wellhead will remained capped.
“For southern Florida, the Florida Keys, and the Eastern Seaboard, the coast remains clear,” said NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D. “With the flow stopped and the loop current a considerable distance away, the light sheen remaining on the Gulf’s surface will continue to biodegrade and disperse, but will not travel far.” For more information, click here.
FDA Expresses Confidence in Seafood Testing
The Food and Drug Administration today released a statement expressing confidence in the process for re-opening closed fishing areas. NOAA has closed portions of the Gulf to fishing as a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of seafood from the Gulf of Mexico and protect consumers.
“Through close coordination with our state and federal partners, we are confident all appropriate steps have been taken to ensure that seafood harvested from the waters being opened today is safe and that Gulf seafood lovers everywhere can be confident eating and enjoying the fish and shrimp that will be coming out of this area,” the FDA statement said.
Drilling of the Relief Well Continues
Development Driller III is clearing out debris that was found at the bottom of the wellbore and preparing to lay the casing line, a necessary step before beginning the static kill procedure—which involves pumping mud and cement in through the top of the 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 6,969 pounds per square inch.
FWS Personnel Continue Wildlife Rescue and Recovery Missions Across the Region
As part of the ongoing effort to protect wildlife and wildlife habitats from the impacts of the BP oil spill, two sea turtle nests with a total of 181 eggs were excavated and relocated from St. Vincent’s National Wildlife Refuge.
From the Houma, La., Incident Command Post, 272 field personnel, 82 vessels and 3 helicopters participated in reconnaissance and wildlife rescue and recovery missions. From the Mobile, Ala., Incident Command Post, wildlife recovery teams responded to 41 calls on the Wildlife Hotline. To report oiled wildlife, call (866) 557-1401.
Shoreline Cleanup Operations Continue Along the Gulf Coast
Cleanup operations to remove oil and oiled debris from shorelines continue on National Parks Service lands and Fish and Wildlife Service refuges along the Gulf Coast. On the Gulf Islands National Seashore, a 22-person crew removed 16,225 pounds of oiled debris from Horn Island; a 30-person crew removed 8,000 pounds from Petit Bois Island; a 26-person crew removed 1,025 pounds from Ship Island; and a 30-person crew removed 2,050 pounds from Cat Island.
Approved SBA Economic Injury Assistance Loans Surpass $17.5 Million
SBA has approved 208 economic injury assistance loans to date, totaling more than $17.5 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, 135,217 claims have been opened, from which more than $261 million have been disbursed. No claims have been denied to date. There are 1,264 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, 1,735 are active.
· More than 32,600 personnel are currently responding to protect the shoreline and wildlife and cleanup vital coastlines.
· More than 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.
· Approximately 3.45* million feet of containment boom and 7.9 million feet of sorbent boom have been deployed to contain the spill—and approximately 976,000 feet of containment boom and 3.27 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 621 miles of Gulf Coast shoreline is currently oiled—approximately 356 miles in Louisiana, 106 miles in Mississippi, 66 miles in Alabama, and 93 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 decrease in boom numbers since yesterday is due to the recovery of some displaced boom in Florida. 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.