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 24, 2010, 7 PM

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


Secretary Napolitano and Secretary Salazar Visit Louisiana to Inspect Response

Secretary Salazar and Secretary Napolitano today visited Louisiana to inspect the ongoing, unprecedented federal response to the BP oil spill—accompanied by a bipartisan Senate delegation including Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and Senator David Vitter (R-LA).

In Louisiana, Secretary Salazar and Secretary Napolitano met with Governor Bobby Jindal and local community and industry leaders to discuss the latest response efforts in Louisiana and along the Gulf Coast with federal officials leading the effort as well as BP representatives.

They also conducted a flyover tour of the Louisiana coastline to view firsthand the spill's impact on these vital coastlines, and cleanup efforts underway.

The visit was Secretary Salazar's seventh and Secretary Napolitano's fourth visit to the Gulf Coast and the affected area since day one.

Fishery Failure is Determined, Balancing Economic and Public Health Needs

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke determined there has been a fishery disaster in the Gulf of Mexico due to the economic impact on commercial and recreational fisheries from the ongoing Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The affected area includes the states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

This action was taken because of the potentially significant economic hardship this spill may cause fishermen and the businesses and communities that depend on those fisheries. The disaster determination will help ensure that the Federal government is in a position to mobilize the full range of assistance that fishermen and fishing communities may need.

Locke made the determination under Section 312(a) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The declaration was made in response to requests from Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour based on the loss of access to many commercial fisheries and the existing and anticipated environmental damage from this unprecedented event.

BP Continues to Process Damage Claims

The administration will continue to hold the relevant companies accountable for repairing the damage and repaying Americans who've suffered a financial loss. BP continues to process claims via its claims website ( and its helpline (1-800-440-0858). To file a claim, visit 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.

NOAA Mobilizes Three Teams of Scientists to Collect Strategic Samples

In response to the Deepwater BP oil spill, NOAA's Mussel Watch program has mobilized three teams of scientists to test shellfish, sediment and water at 60 locations along the Gulf of Mexico from the Florida Keys to Brazos River, Texas.

The mission of this Mussel Watch effort is to collect additional baseline data on contamination in strategic areas of the Gulf shoreline so that if the oil hits a particular area, new samples can be taken that would reveal the full impact of the spill.

These preliminary samples will be tested for 60 oil-related compounds—to include polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, known as PAHs. NOAA will use this data as part of the natural resources damage assessment that determines the type and amount of restoration that is required for the Gulf.

Wildlife Rescue Flights and Observations Inform Booming Priorities

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conducted overflights for reconnaissance, wildlife rescue missions and bird survey missions. One flight near the Biloxi Marsh observed two small islands with nesting colonies of pelicans, gulls, and terns. In response, a request was submitted to place boom around these two islands.

Drilling Continues on Both Relief Wells

BP continues to make progress in drilling both relief wells—more than 10,000 feet down for the first and more than 8,500 feet for the second.

By the Numbers to Date:

  • Personnel were quickly deployed and approximately 22,000 are currently responding to protect the shoreline and wildlife.
  • More than 1,200 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 1.75 million feet of containment boom and 990,000 feet of sorbent boom have been deployed to contain the spill—and approximately 380,000 feet of containment boom and 1 million feet of sorbent boom are available.
  • Approximately 10.8 million gallons of an oil-water mix have been recovered.
  • Approximately 815,000 gallons of total dispersant have been deployed—700,000 on the surface and 115,000 subsea. More than 300,000 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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