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
Senior Administration Officials Meet with BP Executives at the White House
Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change Carol Browner, White House Counsel Robert Bauer, and National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen and other senior administration officials met with BP executives Bob Dudley and Lamar McKay at the White House to discuss a range of issues regarding the ongoing clean up and recovery efforts in the Gulf.
They impressed upon BP the importance of living up to their commitment to long term recovery, and underscored that the Administration will remain vigilant in ensuring that promise is met. Among a variety of other issues, the administration officials also stressed the need for BP to move quickly to pay state and local government claims, and reiterated President Obama’s commitment to work with the people of the Gulf to hold BP accountable, and to address economic, health and environmental needs, and restore the beauty and bounty of the region.
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 reiterated the administration’s commitment to continue drilling until the relief well is completed: “We believe that we have filled the casing with cement and have secured that part of the well. The job before us now is to finish the relief well, to enter the annulus from the bottom, assess its condition, and then seal the well with cement from the bottom up. That will, in our view, at that point, permanently kill the well.”
Allen also stressed the continued efforts to cleanup impacted shoreline: “In the meantime, we are redoubling our efforts in the areas that are most impacted by oil. This would include the northern areas of Barataria Bay, behind the Chandeleur Islands, Breton Sound, areas over in Terrebonne and Timbalier Bay as well,” he said.
Relief Well Drilling and Acoustic Monitoring Continue
Development Driller III continues the drilling of the relief well to ensure the well is permanently sealed and has reached a depth of 17,909 feet below the Gulf surface, conducting ranging runs periodically as it comes closer to intercepting the wellbore. The second relief well is holding at 15,961 feet. The NOAA Ship Henry B. Bigelow continues conducting acoustic surveys in order to ensure the integrity of the wellhead—part of continued efforts to use the best scientific tools available in response to the BP oil spill. Pressure tests have shown that the procedure to prevent any more oil from spilling with a cement plug appears to have succeeded.
FWS Personnel Continue Wildlife Rescue and Recovery Missions Across the Region
From the Houma, La., Incident Command Post, 279 field personnel, 86 vessels, 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 34 calls on the Wildlife Hotline. To report oiled wildlife, call (866) 557-1401.
Shoreline Cleanup Operations Continue Along the Gulf Coast
As part of continued efforts to protect wildlife and wildlife habitats from the impacts of the BP oil spill, FWS and National Parks Service cleanup crews continued shoreline cleanup operations at Gulf Islands National Seashore in Mississippi, removing oil debris from Horn Island (3,540 lbs), Petit Bois (1,000 lbs), Cat Island (1,925 lbs) and Ship Island (1,600 lbs).
Approved SBA Economic Injury Assistance Loans Surpass $19.7 Million
SBA has approved 229 economic injury assistance loans to date, totaling more than $19.7 million for small businesses in the Gulf Coast impacted by the BP oil spill. Additionally, the agency has granted deferments on 789 existing SBA disaster loans in the region, totaling more than $4.3 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, 145,219 claims have been opened, from which more than $324 million have been disbursed. No claims have been denied to date. There are 1,256 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, 1,515 are active.
· Approximately 28,900 personnel are currently responding to protect the shoreline and wildlife and cleanup vital coastlines.
· More than 5,100 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 2.66 million feet of containment boom* and 8.7 million feet of sorbent boom have been deployed to contain the spill—and approximately 1.16 million feet of containment boom and 3.28 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 665 miles of Gulf Coast shoreline is currently oiled—approximately 387 miles in Louisiana, 114 miles in Mississippi, 76 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 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.