The Ongoing Administration-Wide Response to the Deepwater BP Oil Spill: May 30 and May 31, 2010

Ed. Note: For more information on federal response resources, volunteer opportunities, and assistance for those in affected areas visit WhiteHouse.gov/Deepwater-BP-Oil-Spill.

Below is the latest in the ongoing Administration-wide response provided by the Joint Information Center.  

Heidi Avery is White House Deputy Homeland Security Advisor

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The Ongoing Administration-Wide Response to the Deepwater BP Oil Spill
Prepared by the Joint Information Center
UPDATED May 31, 2010 7 PM
 

In the 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:

  • More than 20,000 personnel are currently responding to protect the shoreline and wildlife and cleanup vital coastlines.
  • More than 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.
  • Approximately 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.

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The Ongoing Administration-Wide Response to the Deepwater BP Oil Spill
Prepared by the Joint Information Center
UPDATED May 30, 2010 7 PM
 

In the Past 24 Hours

Government Scientists Estimate that BP’s Pending Riser Cut Could Result in a Temporary Oil Flow Increase of up to 20 Percent
In order to ensure the American public receive the most accurate information, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change Policy Carol Browner provided an estimate, calculated by government scientists, that BP’s tactic involving cutting off a kinked portion of the riser and attempt to lower a device over the area—allowing them to try and capture a substantial amount of the oil leaking out—could result in a temporary increase in oil flow by as much as 20 percent until the containment device is applied over the leak.  The Flow Rate Task Force will continue to evaluate a potential temporary increase as a result of this tactic and will provide any additional assessments as they become available.

Secretary Salazar Makes His Eighth Trip to the Gulf Region
At the direction of the President, Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar made his eighth trip to the Gulf region to continue his work aggressively responding to the BP oil spill. His actions on scene are being coordinated by National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen, who is leading the administration-wide response and directing all interagency activities.

Secretary Salazar met with top BP officials, federal personnel and government scientists in Houston to get a firsthand account of the on-scene direction and oversight of BP's efforts to cap the leaking well.

Oil Impact Surveillance, Recovery and Rescue Teams Patrol Affected Area
28 boat surveillance and recovery teams have been deployed in the areas most impacted by the leaking oil, conducting active cleanup operations and patrolling wetlands, beaches and shoreline areas for wildlife and to ensure that cleanup crews were are operating effectively and reporting impacted wildlife. Four wildlife rescue and survey flights were conducted.

Progress Continues in Drilling Relief Wells
The Development Driller III and Development Driller II continue to drill the first relief well to a depth of 12,000 feet, and second relief well to a depth of 8,500 feet, respectively.

By the Numbers to Date:

  • More than 20,000 personnel are currently responding to protect the shoreline and wildlife and cleanup vital coastlines.
  • More than 1,400 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.
  • Approximately 1.9 million feet of containment boom and 1.85 million feet of sorbent boom have been deployed to contain the spill—and approximately 500,000 feet of containment boom and 1.5 million feet of sorbent boom are available.
  • Approximately 13.1 million gallons of an oil-water mix have been recovered.
  • Approximately 920,000 gallons of total dispersant have been deployed—720,000 on the surface and 200,000 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.
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