The Ongoing Administration-Wide Response to the Deepwater BP Oil Spill: June 17 and June 18, 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 18, 2010 7 PM
 

In the Past 24 Hours

Admiral Allen Provides Operational Update on the BP Oil Spill Response
National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen provided a briefing from the Unified Area Command in New Orleans to inform the American public and answer questions on the progress of the administration-wide response to the BP oil spill. A transcript is available here.

BP Continues to Optimize Oil Recovery Rates from its Leaking Well
BP continues to increase the amount of captured oil and burn more gas at the surface using its containment dome technique, which is being executed under the federal government’s direction.

In addition to the Discoverer Enterprise, which is linked by the riser pipe to the wellhead, a second recovery vessel, the Q4000, continues to flare off additional oil and gas being brought up through the choke and kill lines—a method that was also put in place at the government’s direction. Nearly 30,000 barrels were recovered in the most recent 24-hour period.

Progress Continues in Drilling Relief Wells
The Development Driller III continues to drill the first relief well to a depth of more than 10,600 feet below the sea floor. The Development Driller II has drilled the second relief well—a redundancy measure taken at the direction of the federal government—to a depth of more than 4,600 feet below the sea floor.

National Parks Service Reaches 179 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 179 staff as part of the BP oil spill response. The National Park Service has deployed incident management personnel from across the country to assess and clean up oil impacts, protect the park’s critical natural and cultural resources—including wildlife, birds, and historic structure—and serve the visiting public.

Fish and Wildlife Service Reaches 495 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 numerous bird survey teams in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida to determine the extent of the oil impact on birds and other wildlife. FWS has dispatched 495 staff to deal with Gulf response efforts.

Successful Controlled Burn
In recent days, favorable weather conditions have allowed responders to conduct successful controlled burn operations. 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 225 burns have been conducted to remove more than five million gallons of oil from the water.

Approved SBA Economic Injury Assistance Loans Surpass $4.7 Million
SBA has approved 74 economic injury assistance loans to date, totaling more than $4.7 million for small businesses in the Gulf Coast impacted by the BP oil spill. Additionally, the agency has granted deferments on 434 existing SBA disaster loans in the region, totaling more than $1.9 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. BP reports that 62,004 claims have been opened, from which more than $89.8 million have been disbursed. No claims have been denied to date. There are 698 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; to date, 1,612 have been activated.
  • Approximately 31,000 personnel are currently responding to protect the shoreline and wildlife and cleanup vital coastlines.
  • More than 6,200 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 2.42 million feet of containment boom and 3.77 million feet of sorbent boom have been deployed to contain the spill—and approximately 492,000 feet of containment boom and 2.03 million feet of sorbent boom are available.
  • Approximately 22.3 million gallons of an oil-water mix have been recovered.
  • Approximately 1.34 million gallons of total dispersant have been applied—915,000 on the surface and 429,000 subsea. More than 530,000 gallons are available.
  • More than 225 controlled burns have been conducted, efficiently removing a total of more than 5.25 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.
  • Approximately 61 miles of Gulf Coast shoreline is currently experiencing impacts from BP’s leaking oil—approximately 35 miles in Louisiana, four miles in Mississippi, nine miles in Alabama, and 13 miles in Florida.
  • Approximately 80,800 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 remain 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 Canada, Germany, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization and the European Union's Monitoring and Information Centre.

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The Ongoing Administration-Wide Response to the Deepwater BP Oil Spill
Prepared by the Joint Information Center
UPDATED June 17, 2010 7 PM 

In the Past 24 Hours

Admiral Allen Provides Operational Update on the BP Oil Spill Response
National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen provided a briefing by teleconference to inform the American public and answer questions on the progress of the administration-wide response to the BP oil spill. A transcript is available here.

Later in the day in Port Sulphur, La., Admiral Allen provided a second briefing after returning from an airboat tour of Barataria Bay.

Federal and Local Officials Hold Third Open House Meeting for Louisiana Residents
Representatives from the Coast Guard, Fish and Wildlife Service, the Environmental Protection Agency and state and local governments held the third in a series of open house meetings for Louisiana residents in St. Mary’s Parish—providing an opportunity for those affected by the BP oil spill to engage one-on-one with experts to discuss a variety of topics, including the claims process, volunteer and contracting opportunities, environmental quality, worker safety and the various tools, equipment and strategies being used in the response. Two additional meetings were held this week in Cameron Parish and St. Bernard Parish.

EPA Hosts Conference Call on Air Quality with Gulf Coast Stakeholders
EPA officials hosted a conference call today with community and environmental groups in Louisiana to discuss the short- and long-term effects of the BP oil spill on air quality in the Gulf.

EPA continues to monitor air, water and sediment quality in the region. According to the most recent data, air quality levels for ozone and particulates are normal on the Gulf coastline for this time of year. The most recent water and sediment samples did not reveal elevated levels for chemicals that are usually found in oil.

EPA has observed odor-causing pollutants associated with petroleum products along the coastline at low levels. Some of these chemicals may cause short-lived effects like headache, eye, nose and throat irritation, or nausea. People may be able to smell some of these chemicals at levels well below those that would cause short-term health problems. Anyone experiencing these and other symptoms should call the Medical Support Hotline at (888) 623-0287.

SCAT Teams Continue to Monitor and Cleanup Impacted Shorelines
More than 40 Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Teams (SCAT)—federal, state and BP officials working to assess and determine how cleanup will be conducted, and oversee cleanup operations—continue to monitor and cleanup shorelines along the Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida coastlines.

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 $4 Million
SBA has approved 71 economic injury assistance loans to date, totaling more than $4.15 million for small businesses in the Gulf Coast impacted by the BP oil spill. Additionally, the agency has granted deferments on 411 existing SBA disaster loans in the region, totaling more than $1.79 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. BP reports that 59,297 claims have been opened, from which more than $89.8 million have been disbursed. No claims have been denied to date. There are 667 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; to date, 1,610 have been activated.
  • Approximately 31,000 personnel are currently responding to protect the shoreline and wildlife and cleanup vital coastlines.
  • More than 6,400 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 2.42 million feet of containment boom and 3.65 million feet of sorbent boom have been deployed to contain the spill—and approximately 489,000 feet of containment boom and 1.97 million feet of sorbent boom are available.
  • Approximately 21.9 million gallons of an oil-water mix have been recovered.
  • Approximately 1.33 million gallons of total dispersant have been applied—903,000 on the surface and 423,000 subsea. More than 500,000 gallons are available.
  • More than 220 controlled burns have been conducted, efficiently removing a total of more than 5.2 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.
  • Approximately 80,800 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 remain 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 Canada, Germany, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization and the European Union's Monitoring and Information Centre.
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