The Ongoing Administration-Wide Response to the Deepwater BP Oil Spill: June 29, 2010

Yesterday, Vice President Joe Biden visited New Orleans and Pensacola, Fla., to survey the response efforts, visit with Gulf Coast residents impacted by the spill, and meet with area officials.

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 29, 2010 7 PM
 

In the Past 24 Hours

Vice President Biden Travels to Gulf Coast to Assess Response Efforts
Vice President Joe Biden visited New Orleans and Pensacola, Fla., to survey the response efforts, visit with Gulf Coast residents impacted by the spill, and meet with area officials.

Biden visited the Unified Area Command to receive a briefing on response efforts and tour the facility. He was joined by National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Federal On-Scene Coordinator Rear Admiral James Watson, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Congressman Anh “Joseph” Cao.

The Vice President also made a stop at Pomes Seafood, an eastern New Orleans seafood wholesaler, where he met with Gulf Coast residents impacted by the spill. Biden then traveled to Florida and visited the Naval Air Station Pensacola.

Secretary Salazar and Director Bromwich Hold Fifth Meeting with Oil and Gas Industry
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Michael Bromwich, Director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, yesterday met with officials from oil and gas companies to discuss issues relating to drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf, including safety reforms and a pause on deepwater drilling. This was the fifth meeting Salazar has hosted with oil and gas executives—part of continued efforts to engage industry leaders in the federal government’s response—to provide additional resources and expertise and to seek new, innovative measures to plug the leak, minimize its impact and protect shorelines.

White House Hosts Conference Call with Native American Tribes on BP Oil Spill
The White House yesterday hosted the first in a series of weekly conference calls with representatives of Native American tribes to discuss their concerns about the BP oil spill—including both federally-recognized and non-federally recognized tribes. On the call, federal representatives answered questions and provided information about the ongoing response and available assistance.

Dozens of Additional Brown Pelicans Are Released Back to the Wild
For the second time in three days, personnel from the Fish and Wildlife Service and Coast Guard, released more than 70 rehabilitated brown pelicans back to the wild from the USCG station in Brunswick, Ga.—the first pelican airlift to the Georgia Coast. On Sunday, 72 rehabilitated brown pelicans were released at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas.

Wildlife rescue and recovery crews continue to survey affected areas using hundreds of personnel and dozens of vessels, as well as numerous airboats and helicopters. These missions are conducted routinely as well as under guidance of tips received via the Wildlife Hotline. To report oiled wildlife, call (866) 557-1401.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service resource advisors continue to work with BP cleanup crews in parks and refuges. To date, nearly 1000 personnel from the Department of the Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, U.S. Geological Survey and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement have been deployed as part of the response.
 
EPA Continues to Conduct Air, Water and Sediment Monitoring in the Gulf
The latest EPA air monitoring for ozone and airborne particulate matter, conducted through June 27, has found levels of ozone and particulates ranging from the "good" to "unhealthy for sensitive groups" levels on EPA's Air Quality Index. People with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion. For more information on EPA’s air, water and sediment monitoring results, click here.

Federal and Local Officials Hold Joint Open House Meeting in Iberia Parish
As part of continued efforts to inform Louisiana residents on the BP oil spill response and available assistance, representatives from the Coast Guard, Fish and Wildlife Service, EPA, and state and local governments held their sixth joint open house meeting in Iberia Parish in New Iberia, La.

Experts from the various agencies participating in the BP oil spill response were on hand to discuss a variety of topics with Parish residents—including the claims process, volunteer and contracting opportunities, environmental quality, worker safety and the various tools, equipment and strategies being used in the response. Previous meetings were held in Cameron Parish, St. Bernard Parish, Jefferson Parish, St. Mary’s Parish and Orleans Parish.

BP Continues to Optimize Oil Recovery Rates from its Leaking Well
Under the direction of the federal government, BP continues to capture some oil and burn gas at the surface using its containment dome technique—collecting oil aboard the Discoverer Enterprise, which is linked by a fixed riser pipe to the wellhead, and flaring off additional oil and gas on the Q4000, which is connected to the choke line. The collection capacity is expected to increase to an estimated 53,000 barrels once the third vessel, the Helix Producer, arrives on scene—a redundancy measure also taken under the direction of the federal government. 
 
Progress Continues in Drilling Relief Wells; Ranging Process Continues
The Development Driller III continues to drill the first relief well to a depth of approximately 16,900 feet. The Development Driller II has drilled the second relief well—a redundancy measure taken at the direction of the administration—to a depth of more than 12,000 feet below the Gulf surface. BP continues the “ranging” process—which involves periodically withdrawing the drill pipe and sending an electrical signal down to determine how close they are getting to the wellbore.

Approved SBA Economic Injury Assistance Loans Top $8.4 Million
SBA has approved 126 economic injury assistance loans to date, totaling more than $8.4 million for small businesses in the Gulf Coast impacted by the BP oil spill. Additionally, the agency has granted deferments on 523 existing SBA disaster loans in the region, totaling more than $2.6 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; $130 Million Disbursed
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. To date, 85,060 claims have been opened, from which more than $130 million have been disbursed. No claims have been denied to date. There are 952 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; currently, 1,675 are active.
  • Approximately 38,900 personnel are currently responding to protect the shoreline and wildlife and cleanup vital coastlines.
  • More than 6,800 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 2.75 million feet of containment boom and 4.89 million feet of sorbent boom have been deployed to contain the spill—and approximately 884,000 feet of containment boom and 2.05 million feet of sorbent boom are available.
  • More than 28.2 million gallons of an oil-water mix have been recovered.
  • Approximately 1.6 million gallons of total dispersant have been applied—1.03 million on the surface and 565,000 sub-sea. More than 491,000 gallons are available.
  • 275 controlled burns have been conducted, efficiently removing a total of approximately 10 million gallons of oil from the open water in an effort to protect shoreline and wildlife. Because calculations on the volume of oil burned can take more than 48 hours, the reported total volume may not reflect the most recent controlled burns. 
  • 17 staging areas are in place to protect sensitive shorelines.
  • Approximately 413 miles of Gulf Coast shoreline is currently oiled—approximately 259 miles in Louisiana, 48 miles in Mississippi, 47 miles in Alabama, and 59 miles in Florida.*
  • Approximately 80,228 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 remains 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, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization and the European Union's Monitoring and Information Centre.

* The extent of shoreline oiling reported for Louisiana has been modified to be consistent with shoreline survey reports from the other Gulf States. The change in the numbers is a reporting issue rather than new oiling. Shoreline impacts vary greatly along the coast – both in degree of impact and type of environment (e.g. beach or marsh), and some reports to date have focused only on the heaviest oiled areas planned for immediate response. These reports will now include all degrees of oiling and will be consistent between states.

These numbers continue to reflect a daily snapshot of shoreline currently experiencing impacts from oil so that planning and field operations can more quickly respond to new impacts; they do not include cumulative impacts to date, or shoreline that has already been cleared.

Resources:

  • For information about the response effort, visit www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com.
  • For specific information about the federal-wide response, visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/deepwater-bp-oil-spill.
  • To contact the Deepwater Horizon Joint Information Center, call (713) 323-1670.
  • 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.
  • For information about validated environmental air and water sampling results, visit www.epa.gov/bpspill.
  • For National Park Service updates about potential park closures, resources at risk, and NPS actions to protect vital park space and wildlife, visit http://www.nps.gov/aboutus/oil-spill-response.htm.
  • For Fish and Wildlife Service updates about response along the Gulf Coast and the status of national wildlife refuges, visit http://www.fws.gov/home/dhoilspill/.
  • For daily updates on fishing closures, visit http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov
  • 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.
  • To file a claim with BP, visit www.bp.com/claims or call BP’s helpline at (800) 440-0858. A BP fact sheet with additional information is available here (pdf). 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.
  • In addition, www.disasterassistance.gov has been enhanced to provide a one-stop shop for information on how to file a claim with BP and access additional assistance—available in English and Spanish. 
  • Any members of the press who encounter response personnel restricting their access or violating the media access policy (pdf) set forth by Admiral Allen should contact the Joint Information Center. Click here for more information, including a list of regular embed opportunities.
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