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

Last edited 09/29/2021

Prepared by the Joint Information Center

UPDATED May 20, 2010, 7 PM

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


Admiral Allen Will Stay On as National Incident Commander

Secretary Napolitano today announced that U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen has agreed to remain in his current role as National Incident Commander for the administration's continued, coordinated response to the Deepwater BP Oil Spill after stepping down from his post as Coast Guard Commandant later this month as planned—enabling him to focus solely on managing the unprecedented response effort. As planned and previously announced, Admiral Robert J. Papp, Jr., will relieve Admiral Allen as Commandant later this month.

Secretary Napolitano and Administrator Jackson Demand Transparency from BP

Secretary Napolitano and EPA Administrator Jackson sent a letter to BP CEO Tony Hayward stressing their expectation that BP to conduct all actions in a transparent manner, with all data and information related to the spill readily available to the U.S. government and the American people. The letter stated that BP must promptly provide to the United States Government and the public all data and information regarding the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and update it daily.

EPA Begins Posting Results from Monitoring of BP's Subsea Dispersant Use

EPA last night began posting results from the ongoing monitoring of BP's use of underwater dispersants in the Gulf of Mexico at EPA received this data from BP last night and posted it within hours. Dispersants are a chemical used to break up oil into small droplets so that they are more easily degraded.

This is part of EPA's continued commitment to make air, water, sediment and dispersant monitoring data available to the public as quickly as possible and to ensure the citizens of the Gulf region have access to all relevant public and environmental health information relating to the BP oil spill.

Directive Issued Requiring BP to Identify and Use Less Toxic, More Effective Dispersant

EPA issued a directive requiring BP to identify and use a less toxic and more effective dispersant from the list of EPA authorized dispersants. Dispersants are a chemical used to break up oil into small droplets so that they are more easily degraded.

The directive requires BP to identify a less toxic alternative—to be used both on the surface and under the water at the source of the oil leak—within 24 hours and to begin using the less toxic dispersant within 72 hours of submitting the alternative. If BP is unable to identify available alternative dispersant products, BP must provide the Coast Guard and EPA with a detailed description of the alternative dispersants investigated, and the reason they believe those products did not meet the required standards. EPA's directive to BP can be found here.

Economic Cost and Societal Impact Modeling Continues

The Department of Energy's national laboratories are working with DHS' National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center (NISAC), which is modeling the economic costs and societal impact of the oil spill on energy and other industries in the Gulf and along the coast to support the response efforts of the National Incident Commander and the Unified Area Command. NISAC is a modeling, simulation, and analysis center within DHS that leverages national expertise to address infrastructure protection.

Riser Insertion Tube Tool Continues to Divert Leaking Oil

BP's riser insertion tube tool continues to capture a varying rate of leaking oil, bringing it to the surface for storage and disposal.

Progress Continues in Drilling Relief Wells

The Development Driller III, continues to drill the first relief well at approximately 30 feet per hour. The Development Driller II is being prepared to receive the blowout preventer, following which it will begin drilling the second relief well.

Natural Resource Conservation Service Continues to Build Response

USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service has deployed personnel and multiple vessels to assist the Louisiana Department of Fisheries and Wildlife in monitoring oil making landfall in Terrebonne Bay and Breton Sound areas in Louisiana, and continues to assist the Louisiana National Guard with technical engineering recommendations for stabilizing beach and headland areas where sand and earthen material is being placed to plug openings to prevent the oil from entering the wetlands.

Individual and Small Business Support Services Coordination Team Begins Work

An interagency team is developing and overseeing a unified approach for coordinating supportive services to individuals and small businesses impacted by the BP oil spill. In support of the National Incident Command, the Interagency Integrated Services Team is building a coordination plan based on the operational concept of “no wrong door” to ensure individuals, families, and small business can easily access the claims process, benefits, and other services.

This team will work closely among all levels of government to ensure that BP, as a responsible party, meets its obligations and that impacted individuals are made whole. Leadership from the interagency team briefed Governors from Gulf Coast states and identified next steps for a coordinated effort to ensure all claims are properly addressed.

As part of these efforts, a central resource for information on how to obtain assistance for dealing with the impacts of the current oil spill should visit

Navy Ocean Survey Vessels Assist in Boom Deployment and Skimming

Three Navy ocean survey vessels—the Wes Bordelon, the John Coghill and the Vanguard—continue to support boom deployment and skimming activities along the Gulf Coast.

By the Numbers to Date:

  • Personnel were quickly deployed and approximately 24,000 are currently responding to protect the shoreline and wildlife.
  • More than 1,000 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 1.43 million feet of containment boom and 560,000 feet of sorbent boom have been deployed to contain the spill—and approximately 370,000 feet of containment boom and 1.28 million feet of sorbent boom are available.
  • Approximately 8.3 million gallons of an oil-water mix have been recovered.
  • Approximately 655,000 gallons of total dispersant have been deployed—600,000 on the surface and 55,000 subsea. More than 340,000 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.


  • 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.
  • 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


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