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
President Obama Addresses Economic Hardship Affecting Gulf Coast Residents
President Obama addressed the economic struggles many Americans are experiencing, including Gulf Coast residents, in his remarks at a meeting with labor leaders.
“One place in our country where people have faced particular struggles in the last few months is in the Gulf of Mexico as a result of the BP oil spill. So it was very welcome news when we learned overnight that efforts to stop the well through what’s called a ‘static kill’ appear to be working—and that a report out today by our scientists show that the vast majority of the spilled oil has been dispersed or removed from the water. So the long battle to stop the leak and contain the oil is finally close to coming to an end. And we are very pleased with that,” he said.
“Our recovery efforts, though, will continue. We have to reverse the damage that’s been done, we will continue to work to hold polluters accountable for the destruction they’ve caused, we’ve got to make sure that folks who were harmed are reimbursed, and we’re going to stand by the people of the region however long it takes until they’re back on their feet.”
Admiral Allen, Administrator Lubchenco, Carol Browner, and Press Secretary Gibbs Provide an Update on the BP Oil Spill Response
National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen, NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco and Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change Carol Browner joined Press Secretary Robert Gibbs at the White House to provide a briefing to inform the American public and answer questions on the administration-wide response to the BP oil spill.
Dr. Lubchenco discussed a newly-released report compiled by federal scientists, using what’s known as an Oil Budget Calculator, to determine the fate of the oil from the leaking well. Admiral Allen reported on the progress of the static diagnostics test and discussions underway involving the federal science team on whether to follow up the drilling mud with cement, but again reiterated the importance of the relief well to ultimately kill the well: “This job will not be complete until we finish the relief well and have pumped the mud in and cemented it from the bottom, or the bottom kill, if you will.”
Carol Browner reiterated the President’s commitment to long-term recovery. “There remains a lot to be done. While sort of the first phase of closing the well may be coming to an end, there’s another phase, which is the restoration. It’s making sure that these communities, the individuals in these communities, are made whole,” she said. “We are going to continue to ensure that BP is held accountable for the damage that they did, for the economic losses, and ultimately for the natural resource damages and all of the restoration that will take place in the Gulf communities and in the Gulf at large.”
Federal Science Report Details Fate of Oil from BP Spill
According to a federal science report, the vast majority of the oil from the BP oil spill has either evaporated or been burned, skimmed, recovered from the wellhead or dispersed—much of which is in the process of being degraded. A significant amount of this is the direct result of the robust federal response efforts.
The estimates were derived by NOAA and the Department of the Interior, who jointly developed the Oil Budget Calculator, to provide measurements and best estimates of what happened to the spilled oil. The calculator is based on 4.9 million barrels of oil released into the Gulf, the government’s Flow Rate Technical Group estimate from Monday. More than 25 of the best government and independent scientists contributed to or reviewed the calculator and its calculation methods—part of continued efforts to engage the brightest scientific minds in this response.
The chart below outlines the breakdown of what has happened to the oil released into the Gulf of Mexico since the oil spill began in April:
Admiral Allen Approves Procedure to Cement BP’s Damaged Well
Based on the successful completion of the static kill procedure and a positive evaluation of the test results, Admiral Allen authorized BP to cement its damaged well—making it clear that implementation of this procedure shall in no way delay the completion of the relief well.
Director Bromwich Hosts Fact-Finding Forum in New Orleans
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement Director Michael R. Bromwich hosted the first off a series of public forums in New Orleans, La.—designed to collect information and views from academia; the environmental community; federal, state and local officials; and the oil and gas industry on technical issues related to deepwater drilling safety reforms, well containment, and oil spill response.
Director Bromwich will consider this feedback in evaluating whether to recommend any modifications to the scope or duration of the deepwater drilling suspensions announced by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on July 12.
FWS Personnel Continue Wildlife Rescue and Recovery Missions Across the Region
From the Houma, La., Incident Command Post, 238 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 comprised of 90 volunteers responded to 51 calls on the Wildlife Hotline. To report oiled wildlife, call (866) 557-1401.
Approved SBA Economic Injury Assistance Loans Surpass $18.7 Million
SBA has approved 217 economic injury assistance loans to date, totaling more than $18.7 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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, 141,690 claims have been opened, from which more than $293 million have been disbursed. No claims have been denied to date. There are 1,261 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, 1,581 are active.
- Approximately 31,200 personnel are currently responding to protect the shoreline and wildlife and cleanup vital coastlines.
- More than 5,000 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 3.12 million feet of containment boom* and 8.2 million feet of sorbent boom have been deployed to contain the spill—and approximately 970,000 feet of containment boom and 3.14 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 650 miles of Gulf Coast shoreline is currently oiled—approximately 373 miles in Louisiana, 111 miles in Mississippi, 73 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 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 email@example.com.
- 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.