The Ongoing Administration-Wide Response to the Deepwater BP Oil Spill: June 12 and June 13, 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 June 13, 2010 7 PM
 

In the Past 24 Hours

Secretary Salazar Inspects Relief Well Drilling Operations
Continuing his ninth visit to the Gulf region, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar visited the Development Driller II, which, along with the Development Driller III, is making progress in drilling the dual relief wells to permanently stop the flow of leaking oil from BP’s deep underwater well. He was briefed by BP officials, as well as engineers directing and overseeing their work.

Skimmers are Surged to Gulf Areas Most At-Risk for Oil Impact
To facilitate the removal of heavy oil that has begun to come ashore in Orange Beach, Ala., Gulf State Park, Ala., and Bon Secour, Ala., the Unified Command has increased skimming and beach cleanup activities and is preparing to move to 24-hour cleanup and skimming operations. More than 400 skimmers are currently deployed to remove an oil-water mix from the Gulf—a more than 300 percent increase over recent days.

Area coastlines are being protected by both near-shore and offshore operations. Near-shore skimming vessels were moved from Panama City, Fla., to Pensacola, Fla. Skimming operations directed by ICP Mobile have collected more than 240,500 gallons of oil-water mix from the Gulf as far out as 50 miles.

New skimming equipment, including “Current Buster” skimming systems and a “Big Gulp” weir skimmer, is being deployed offshore. Current Busters can be towed at higher speeds than conventional boom and are ideally suited to high seas and ocean currents. The Big Gulp is a barge that has been converted into a large-capacity skimmer.

A task force, or group of vessels including skimmers, is working south of Gulf Shores, Ala., Perdido Pass, Fla., and Petit Bois Island, Miss., among other areas, to boom and skim oil. Night skimming operations will be pursued as weather permits. 

NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson Returns from Science Mission; Will Redeploy Immediately
The 208-foot NOAA research vessel Thomas Jefferson arrived in Galveston, Texas, following completion a project to sample water and test advanced methods for detecting submerged oil while gathering oceanographic data in the area’s coastal waters. The ship is preparing for immediate redeployment on a second mission to start this week.

National Parks Service Reaches 158 Staff Deployed to Protect Vital Parkland
In the Gulf of Mexico, the Department of the Interior protects eight national parks and 36 wildlife refuges, from Texas to Florida. NPS has dispatched 158 staff to deal with Gulf response efforts. The National Park Service has deployed incident management personnel from across the country to prepare for and respond to oil impacts along the Gulf Coast.

As oil continues to come onshore at Gulf Islands National Seashore and encroaches on other national parks in Florida, Louisiana and Texas, National Park Service employees regularly based in these parks as well as those deployed as part of various incident teams are working to assess and clean up oil impacts and protect the park’s critical natural and cultural resources, including wildlife, birds, and historic structure and serve the visiting public. NPS is providing Resource Advisors (READs) to the field to ensure that response crews operate in compliance with the established sensitive resources guidelines.

Fish and Wildlife Service Reaches 428 Staff Deployed to Protect Vital Wildlife
The Fish and Wildlife Service continues to coordinate and supervise search and capture for oiled wildlife—conducting aerial flights to identify oiled wildlife and helping facilitate recovery and treatment, and leading 17 bird survey teams in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida to determine the extent of the oil impact on birds. FWS is training four additional teams for survey work in Texas, and has dispatched 428 staff to deal with Gulf response efforts.

BP Continues to Capture Some Oil and Gas Using Containment Device
BP continues to capture some oil and burn some gas at the surface using its containment dome technique, which is being executed under the federal government’s direction. After cutting off a portion of the riser, BP placed a containment device over it in order to capture oil at its source.

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. BP reports that 51,329 claims have been opened, from which more than $61.5 million have been disbursed. No claims have been denied to date. There are 596 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 17,500 National Guard troops from Gulf Coast states to participate in the response to the BP oil spill.
  • More than 27,000 personnel are currently responding to protect the shoreline and wildlife and cleanup vital coastlines.
  • More than 5,400 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.
  • Approximately 2.3 million feet of containment boom and 3.1 million feet of sorbent boom have been deployed to contain the spill—and approximately 450,000 feet of containment boom and 1.9 million feet of sorbent boom are available.
  • Approximately 19.9 million gallons of an oil-water mix have been recovered.
  • Approximately 1.26 million gallons of total dispersant have been deployed—833,000 on the surface and 382,000 subsea. More than 529,000 gallons are available.
  • More than 178 controlled burns have been conducted, efficiently removing a total of more than 4 million gallons of oil from the open water in an effort to protect shoreline and wildlife.
  • 17 staging areas are in place to protect sensitive shorelines.
  • To date, 68.2 miles of Gulf Coast shoreline has been impacted by BP’s leaking oil—34.8 miles in Louisiana, 10.8 miles in Mississippi, 7.2 miles in Alabama and 8.7 miles in Florida.
  • Approximately 78,000 square miles of Gulf of Mexico federal waters remain closed to fishing in order to balance economic and public health concerns. 68 percent remain open. Details can be found at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/.

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The Ongoing Administration-Wide Response to the Deepwater BP Oil Spill
Prepared by the Joint Information Center
UPDATED June 12, 2010 7 PM
 

In the Past 24 Hours

President Obama’s Message to Gulf Coast: We Are With You
In an op-ed published in Gulf Coast newspapers, President Obama reiterated his administration’s commitment to a strong, sustained response to one of the worst environmental disasters in our nation’s history.

“I understand the frustration and anger that the people of the Gulf Coast are feeling. I share it. But instead of allowing feelings of anger and frustration to overwhelm our efforts, we must stay focused on the work at hand,” he wrote. “We owe it to the people of the Gulf to bring this ordeal to an end, and we owe it to the American people to make sure it never happens again.”

President Obama and British Prime Minister Cameron Discuss BP Oil Spill
In a telephone conversation, President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron disussed the impact of the tragic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, reiterating that BP must do all it can to respond effectively to the situation.

Rear Admiral Watson Directs BP to Devise a More Aggressive Containment Plan within 48 Hours
Federal On-Scene Coordinator Rear Admiral James A. Watson yesterday sent a second letter (pdf) to BP COO Doug Suttles—directing the company to devise a more aggressive to build greater capacity and redundancy for oil containment within 48 hours. The letter was in response to BP’s proposal (pdf), which Watson had directed BP to develop on June 8 (pdf).

Watson expressed concern that BP’s current plan does not have sufficient resources to “provide the needed collection capacity consistent with revised flow estimates” and “does not go far enough to mobilize redundant resources in the event of an equipment failure with one of the vessels or some other unforeseen problem.”

Under the federal government’s direction, BP engineers continue to refine plans for two more collection systems that will use connections on the blowout preventer capture more of the leaking oil in the near term. Gas and oil flow will be collected on the drill ships Q4000 and Clear Leader. Plans to acquire equipment for long-term containment and disposal are being examined. 

In its oversight role, the federal government will continue to direct BP to plan for a more aggressive response—in the same way the administration pushed for a second relief well, additional redundancy, more transparency, paying for the berms, and a more expedited claims process.

Secretary Salazar Travels to Gulf Coast to Inspect Ongoing Efforts to Protect Wildlife and Coastlines
In his ninth visit to the region, U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar traveled to Gulf Islands National Seashore to inspect the ongoing effort to protect and rehabilitate wildlife and wildlife habitats impacted by the BP oil spill. Salazar met with personnel from the National Park Service and Fish and Wildlife service, whom he praised for working tirelessly to protect sensitive coastal areas and wildlife species, observed response preparations for the barrier islands at Petit Bois Island; and joined an NPS volunteer clean-up program at Fort Pickens in Florida.

BP Continues to Capture Some Oil and Gas Using Containment Device
BP continues to capture some oil and burn some gas at the surface using its containment dome technique, which is being executed under the federal government’s direction. After cutting off a portion of the riser, BP placed a containment device over it in order to capture oil at its source.

Approved SBA Economic Injury Assistance Loans Surpass $2.2 Million
SBA has approved 54 economic injury assistance loans to date, totaling more than $2.24 million for small businesses in the Gulf Coast impacted by the BP oil spill. Additionally, the agency has granted deferments on 358 existing SBA disaster loans in the region, totaling more than $1.63 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. BP reports that 49,254 claims have been opened, from which more than $60.2 million have been disbursed. No claims have been denied to date. There are 577 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.

By the Numbers to Date:

  • The administration has authorized 17,500 National Guard troops from Gulf Coast states to participate in the response to the BP oil spill.
  • More than 25,500 personnel are currently responding to protect the shoreline and wildlife and cleanup vital coastlines.
  • More than 5,100 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.
  • Approximately 2.3 million feet of containment boom and 3 million feet of sorbent boom have been deployed to contain the spill—and approximately 460,000 feet of containment boom and 2 million feet of sorbent boom are available.
  • Approximately 19.3 million gallons of an oil-water mix have been recovered.
  •  Approximately 1.2 million gallons of total dispersant have been deployed—820,000 on the surface and 380,000 subsea. More than 540,000 gallons are available.
  • More than 165 controlled burns have been conducted, efficiently removing a total of more than 3.85 million gallons of oil from the open water in an effort to protect shoreline and wildlife.
  • 17 staging areas are in place and ready to protect sensitive shorelines.
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