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. Admiral Allen discussed ongoing preparations for the static diagnostics test and completing the drilling of the relief well. A full transcript is available here.
Secretary Napolitano Visits Unified Area Command in New Orleans
In her eighth visit to the Gulf Coast since the BP oil spill began, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano visited the Unified Area Command in New Orleans, La., to meet with response personnel and be briefed by Admiral Allen on the progress with the relief well and ongoing cleanup efforts. Secretary Napolitano chairs the National Response Team.
Secretary Mabus Holds Two Town Hall Meetings in Alabama
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus hosted two town hall meetings—in Theodore and Robertsdale, Alabama—the first in a weeklong series to be held throughout the Gulf Coast. The town hall meetings are open to the public and media, and will provide residents an opportunity to discuss long-term economic and environmental restoration ideas with the Secretary. This is the fourth trip to the Gulf Coast for Mabus.
President Obama charged Secretary Mabus with developing a long-term Gulf Coast Restoration Plan. The plan will consider economic development, community planning, restoration of the ecosystem and environment, public health efforts and assistance to individuals and businesses impacted by the spill in the Gulf.
Scientific Teams Refine Estimates of Oil Flow from BP’s Well Prior to Capping
Based on new pressure readings, data, and analysis, the U.S. scientific teams charged by Admiral Allen with determining the flow of oil from BP’s leaking well have refined their estimates of the oil flow prior to the well being capped on July 15. Today’s estimates, which draw heavily on recent oil reservoir modeling and on pressure readings of a closed system, are the most accurate to date and have an uncertainty of plus or minus approximately 10 percent.
The scientific teams estimate that 53,000 barrels of oil per day were leaking immediately preceding the well’s closure via the capping stack. Recent measurements and modeling also show that the daily flow rate decreased over the 87 days prior to the well’s closure due to reservoir depletion—based on these data, the teams estimate that 62,000 barrels of oil per day were leaking from the well at the beginning of the spill.
Overall, the scientific teams estimate that approximately 4.9 million barrels of oil have been released. Not all of this oil and gas flowed into the ocean; containment activities conducted by BP under the administration’s direction captured approximately 800,000 barrels of oil prior to the capping of the well. For more information, click here.
EPA Releases Second Round of Peer-Reviewed, Independent Dispersant Testing
As part of an effort to ensure that the Environmental Protection Agency’s decisions remain grounded in the best available science and data, the EPA today released peer reviewed results from the second phase of its independent toxicity testing on mixtures of eight oil dispersants with Louisiana Sweet Crude Oil.
EPA’s results indicate that the eight dispersants tested have similar toxicities to one another when mixed with Louisiana Sweet Crude Oil. These results confirm that the dispersant used in response to the oil spill in the gulf, Corexit 9500A, when mixed with oil, is generally no more or less toxic than mixtures with the other available alternatives. The results also indicate that dispersant-oil mixtures are generally no more toxic to the aquatic test species than oil alone. Click here for complete test results.
Drilling of the Relief Well Continues
Development Driller III has finished laying the final casing run and is preparing to conduct the static diagnostics test—pumping mud and cement in through the top of the well using the Q4000—which will provide more information about well integrity and ultimately improves the probability of success for the relief well. Once results from the static diagnostics test are received, the relief well is expected to be completed within five to seven days. Development Driller II is holding operations and awaiting 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 and NOAA Ships Pisces and Henry R. Bigelow are conducting seismic and acoustic tests around the wellhead—part of continued efforts to use the best scientific tools available in response to the BP oil spill. The pressure in the wellhead continues to rise, demonstrating that it has integrity, and is currently at 6,989 pounds per square inch.
FWS Personnel Continue Wildlife Rescue and Recovery Missions Across the Region
From the Houma, La., Incident Command Post, 266 field personnel, 84 vessels and four helicopters and one float plane participated in reconnaissance and wildlife rescue and recovery missions. From the Mobile, Ala., Incident Command Post, wildlife recovery teams responded to 50 calls on the Wildlife Hotline. To report oiled wildlife, call (866) 557-1401.
Approved SBA Economic Injury Assistance Loans Surpass $18.3 Million
SBA has approved 215 economic injury assistance loans to date, totaling more than $18.3 million for small businesses in the Gulf Coast impacted by the BP oil spill. Additionally, the agency has granted deferments on 769 existing SBA disaster loans in the region, totaling more than $4.2 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, 139,261 claims have been opened, from which more than $271 million have been disbursed. No claims have been denied to date. There are 1,263 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, 1,727 are active.
· Approximately 30,300 personnel are currently responding to protect the shoreline and wildlife and cleanup vital coastlines.
· More than 5,300 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 3.29 million feet of containment boom** and 8.1 million feet of sorbent boom have been deployed to contain the spill—and approximately 992,000 feet of containment boom and 3.53 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 641 miles of Gulf Coast shoreline is currently oiled—approximately 368 miles in Louisiana, 112 miles in Mississippi, 73 miles in Alabama, and 88 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 increase in total active vessels since yesterday corrects an accounting error that under-represented the number of response vessels in Louisiana.
**The decrease in boom numbers is due to the continued recovery of displaced boom. Once recovered, this boom must be decontaminated, repaired, inspected, and certified before being staged or redeployed. New boom is being deployed in some areas.
· 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.