DOI News


Update: The Ongoing Administration-Wide Response to the Deepwater BP Oil Spill


07/14/2010

Prepared by the Joint Information Center
UPDATED July 14, 2010, 7:00 PM


* For a full timeline of the Administration-wide response, visit the White House Blog.

PAST 24 HOURS

Top Administration Officials Brief President Obama on the Response to the BP Oil Spill

This afternoon, President Obama received an update by phone from top administration officials involved in the response to the BP oil spill, including National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change Carol Browner.

Yesterday, Admiral Allen and the federal science team, under the leadership of Secretary Chu, directed BP to temporarily delay the well integrity tests until concerns from the scientific community were addressed and adequate assurances were provided that there would be no irreparable harm to the well bore as a result of the testing procedures. Based on new information and analysis, Secretary Chu and other scientists concluded that the test should now proceed with several modifications and safety requirements.

Admiral Allen will be issuing a new directive to BP for the test. The directive will require additional seismic testing and monitoring from ROVs, as well as acoustic and temperature monitoring throughout the duration of the well integrity test. The test will take up to 48 hours and will include periodic assessments in six-hour increments.

Test procedures have begun, starting with the disconnection of both the Q4000 and the Helix Producer. In order to accommodate additional oil which will enter the Gulf environment during the test, over 40 ocean skimmers and other assets have been positioned around the wellhead.

Upon completion of the tests, the federal government will possess valuable data regarding both the condition of the well—important when action is taken to ultimately kill the well with the relief well efforts—as well as an understanding of our capacity to shut the well in for brief periods if needed to prepare for a hurricane. As soon as the tests conclude, containment efforts will resume with the new capping stack and other equipment, with the potential to capture up to 80,000 barrels per day.

This afternoon, Admiral Allen provided a briefing to inform the American public and answer questions on these developments.

Administrator Jackson Participates in Youth Roundtable on the BP Oil Spill

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson participated in a roundtable discussion for young adults in Washington, D.C., to discuss the impact of the BP oil spill on the environment—particularly in underserved communities. The event was hosted by Green for All, a national organization that works to fight poverty through the promotion of a green economy, and attended by Green for All Academy Fellows, who are all young adults from underserved communities.

Secretary Salazar Makes Ninth Visit to the Gulf Coast

In his ninth visit to the Gulf region since the BP oil spill began, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar accompanied Admiral Allen on a visit to the Helix Producer, where they received an update on oil and gas containment and collection efforts and observed the drilling of the relief wells. Salazar then visited with DOI personnel participating in the response at the Unified Area Command in New Orleans to thank them work and encourage them to continue their efforts to protect the people and natural resources of the Gulf Coast from the impacts of the spill.

To date, more than 1,000 personnel from the Department of the Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, U.S. Geological Survey and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement have been deployed as part of the response.

Surgeon General Visits the Gulf

U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin visited Bayou La Batre, Ala., to meet with community residents, response workers and local officials and discuss the mental health and public health aspects of the BP oil spill. Benjamin was joined by Department of Health and Human Services officials including Admiral Jim Galloway, HHS health liaison to the National Incident Command, and Pam Hyde, Administrator for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. For more information about efforts by HHS to protect the health of Gulf Coast residents, click here.

IRS Announces Details of July 17 Taxpayer Assistance Day for Oil Spill Victims

The Internal Revenue Service announced the times and locations of special Taxpayer Assistance Centers in seven Gulf Coast cities that will be open on July 17 to provide help to taxpayers impacted by the BP oil spill. Individuals who have questions about the tax treatment of BP claims payments or who are experiencing filing or payment hardships because of the oil spill will be able to work directly with IRS personnel.

Last week, the IRS announced the opening of a dedicated phone line for victims of the Gulf oil spill—(866) 562-5227—open weekdays from 10 a.m.-7 p.m., and on July 17 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Central Time.

Approved SBA Economic Injury Assistance Loans Surpass $12 Million

SBA has approved 165 economic injury assistance loans to date, totaling more than $13 million for small businesses in the Gulf Coast impacted by the BP oil spill. Additionally, the agency has granted deferments on 643 existing SBA disaster loans in the region, totaling more than $3.5 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 disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

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, 110,256 claims have been opened, from which more than $183 million have been disbursed. No claims have been denied to date. There are 1,046 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, 1,564 are active.
  • More than 45,000 personnel are currently responding to protect the shoreline and wildlife and cleanup vital coastlines.
  • More than 6,800 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.
  • More than 3.21 million feet of containment boom and 6.6 million feet of sorbent boom have been deployed to contain the spill—and approximately 875,000 feet of containment boom and 2.65 million feet of sorbent boom are available.
  • More than 31.8 million gallons of an oil-water mix have been recovered.
  • Approximately 1.82 million gallons of total dispersant have been applied—1.07 million on the surface and 749,000 sub-sea. Approximately 516,000 gallons are available.
  • 348 controlled burns have been conducted, efficiently removing a total of more than 10.3 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 572 miles of Gulf Coast shoreline is currently oiled—approximately 328 miles in Louisiana, 108 miles in Mississippi, 67 miles in Alabama, and 69 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 83,927 square miles of Gulf of Mexico federal waters remain closed to fishing in order to balance economic and public health concerns. More than 66 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 Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Qatar, Russia, Spain, 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.
Resources:
  • 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 (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.
  • 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.
  • For information about the response effort, visit www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com.

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