Update: The Ongoing Administration-Wide Response to the Deepwater BP Oil Spill
Prepared by the Joint Information Center
UPDATED May 31, 2010, 7 PM
* For a full timeline of the Administration-wide response, visit the White House Blog.
PAST 24 HOURS
Secretary Salazar Continues His Eighth Trip to the Gulf Region
At the direction of President Obama, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar continued his eighth trip to the Gulf region to continue his oversight of BP operations and to support federal scientists who are working to contain the oil flowing from BP’s leaking well. Secretary Salazar met with top BP officials, federal personnel and government scientists in Houston.
While meeting with scientists and BP officials, Secretary Salazar emphasized the need to find an immediate, short-term solution to contain the leaking oil. The more permanent solution, the drilling of two relief wells can take up to several months to complete. U.S. government scientists, engineers and experts have been working with independent experts and BP officials on a variety of alternatives to contain the flow of oil immediately.
Progress Continues in Drilling Relief Wells
The Development Driller III continues to drill the first relief well to a depth of more than 12,000 feet—10 days ahead of schedule—and is beginning to angle the well at 35 degrees. The Development Driller II has drilled the second relief well to a depth of 8,650 feet.
Successful Controlled Burn
Favorable weather conditions allowed responders to conduct a successful controlled burn operation. As part of a coordinated response that combines tactics deployed above water, below water, offshore, and close to coastal areas, controlled burns efficiently remove oil from the open water in an effort to protect shoreline and wildlife. In total, more than 100 burns have been conducted to remove a total of 2.8 million gallons of oil from the water to date.
Federal Mobile Medial Unit Arrives in Louisiana
A federal mobile medical unit arrived in Venice, La., today to provide additional basic medical care for responders and residents of coastal communities affected by the oil spill.
The mobile medical unit, provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in coordination with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, will integrate with the local medical community to triage and provide basic care for responders and residents concerned about health effects of the oil spill. Patients then can be referred to local healthcare providers or hospitals.
Gulf Fishing Restrictions Expanded; 74 Percent Remains Open
NOAA extended the northern boundary of the closed fishing area in the Gulf of Mexico up to the Mississippi federal-state water line and portions of the Alabama federal-state water line—this federal closure does not apply to any state waters. Closing fishing in these areas is a precautionary measure to ensure that seafood from the Gulf will remain safe for consumers.
The closed area now represents 61,854 square miles, which is slightly less than 26 percent of Gulf of Mexico federal waters. This leaves more than 74 percent of Gulf federal waters available for fishing. Details can be found at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/.
This extension of the federal fishing closed area due to the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill coincides with the June 1 opening of the Gulf of Mexico recreational red snapper season, and will affect some areas targeted by charter boat captains and private anglers.
However, NOAA Fisheries Service is increasing the level of data collection to more closely monitor the effects of the oil spill on Gulf recreational fishing. This will allow the agency to adjust the closure date for recreational fishing seasons as appropriate, including the red snapper season which is scheduled to close at 12:01 a.m. July 24.
Property Damage Claims Processed
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. BP continues to process claims via its claims website (www.bp.com/claims) and its helpline (1-800-440-0858). BP reports that 30,619 claims have been opened, from which $39.4 million have been disbursed. No claims have been denied to date. There are more than 481 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.
Air and Ground Wildlife Rescue and Cleanup Assessment Missions Continue
Four wildlife rescue and survey flights were conducted, and 28 boat surveillance and recovery teams continue to patrol wetlands, beaches and shoreline areas to survey potentially impacted wildlife and assess impact by oil.
By the Numbers to Date:
- Personnel were quickly deployed and approximately 20,000 are currently responding to protect the shoreline and wildlife.
- Approximately 1,700 vessels are 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.
- More than 1.95 million feet of containment boom and 1.85 million feet of sorbent boom have been deployed to contain the spill—and approximately 610,000 feet of containment boom and 1.8 million feet of sorbent boom are available.
- Approximately 13.5 million gallons of an oil-water mix have been recovered.
- Approximately 950,000 gallons of total dispersant have been deployed—740,000 on the surface and 210,000 subsea. More than 430,000 gallons are available.
- 17 staging areas are in place and ready to protect sensitive shorelines, including: Dauphin Island, Ala., Orange Beach, Ala., Theodore, Ala., Panama City, Fla., Pensacola, Fla., Port St. Joe, Fla., St. Marks, Fla., Amelia, La., Cocodrie, La., Grand Isle, La., Shell Beach, La., Slidell, La., St. Mary, La.; Venice, La., Biloxi, Miss., Pascagoula, Miss., and Pass Christian, Miss.
- For information about the response effort, visit www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com.
- 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 (985) 902-5231.
- 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. Messages will be checked hourly.
- For information about validated environmental air and water sampling results, visit http://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 daily updates on fishing closures, visit http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov.
- To file a claim, or report spill-related damage, call BP’s helpline at (800) 440-0858. A BP fact sheet with additional information is available here. For 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.
For information about the response effort, visit www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com.