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. A full transcript is available here.
Admiral Allen reported on preparations for the static diagnostics test, or “static kill,” which BP has since conducted. While the static diagnostics test will provide more information about well integrity and improves the probability of success for the relief well, Allen stressed the importance of the relief well to ultimately kill the well. Once results from the static diagnostics test are received, the relief well is expected to be completed within five to seven days.
“The static kill will increase the probability that the relief well will work. But the whole thing will not be done until the relief well is completed. The static kill is not the end all be all. It is a diagnostic test that will tell us a lot about the integrity of the casing and the wellbore. It will tell us about the tolerance for volume and pressure. But in the long run, drilling into the annulus and into the casing pipe from below, filling that with mud and then filling that with cement is the only solution to the end of this,” he said.
“And there should be no ambiguity about that. I'm the National Incident Commander, and that's the way this will end…with the relief wells being drilled, and the annulus and the casing being filled with mud, and cement being poured.”
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 Ship 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 6,994 pounds per square inch.
Secretary Salazar Joins Secretary Chu in Houston to Inspect “Static Kill” Procedure
In his eleventh trip to the Gulf Coast since the oil spill began, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar traveled to the BP Command Center in Houston, Texas to meet with BP officials, scientists and engineers and members of the federal science team, led by Energy Secretary Steven Chu, to receive an update on the progress of the “static kill” operation. This is Secretary Chu’s seventh trip to the Gulf Coast.
Secretary Mabus Holds Two Town Hall Meetings in Florida
Continuing his fourth trip to the Gulf Coast, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus hosted two town hall meetings—in Panama City and St. Petersburg, Florida—part of a weeklong series of meetings 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. Yesterday, Mabus hosted two meetings in Alabama.
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.
Dozens of Sea Turtle Hatchlings Released Along Florida’s East Coast
As part of continued efforts to protect Gulf Coast wildlife and wildlife habitats, more than 45 threatened and endangered sea turtle hatchlings were released on a remote beach along Florida’s East Coast—the final stage in an unprecedented rescue effort.
Since June 26, 135 sea turtle nests have been relocated by from beaches in Alabama, Mississippi and the Florida Panhandle to a secure, climate-controlled facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, Fla. So far, 2,168 hatchlings completed their incubation and were released into the Atlantic Ocean.
Scientists from Fish and Wildlife Service, National Parks Service, NOAA, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, devised the rescue plan to prevent the hatchlings from encountering oil as they entered the Gulf of Mexico. Sea turtle conservation groups were also consulted, and FedEx transported the eggs 500-plus miles per run with minimal vibration and close temperature control.
FWS Personnel Continue Wildlife Rescue and Recovery Missions Across the Region
From the Houma, La., Incident Command Post, 270 field personnel, 86 vessels and three helicopters participated in reconnaissance and wildlife rescue and recovery missions. From the Mobile, Ala., Incident Command Post, wildlife recovery teams responded to 51 calls on the Wildlife Hotline. To report oiled wildlife, call (866) 557-1401.
Approved SBA Economic Injury Assistance Loans Surpass $18.6 Million
SBA has approved 216 economic injury assistance loans to date, totaling more than $18.6 million for small businesses in the Gulf Coast impacted by the BP oil spill. Additionally, the agency has granted deferments on 770 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, 140,465 claims have been opened, from which more than $277 million have been disbursed. No claims have been denied to date. There are 1,262 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, 1,622 are active.
· Approximately 31,400 personnel are currently responding to protect the shoreline and wildlife and cleanup vital coastlines.
· More than 5,050 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 3.21 million feet of containment boom* and 8.16 million feet of sorbent boom have been deployed to contain the spill—and approximately 990,000 feet of containment boom and 3.48 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 644 miles of Gulf Coast shoreline is currently oiled—approximately 369 miles in Louisiana, 111 miles in Mississippi, 74 miles in Alabama, and 90 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 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.