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
The Ongoing Administration-Wide Response to the Deepwater BP Oil Spill
Prepared by the Joint Information Center
UPDATED May 26, 2010 7 PM
In the Past 24 Hours
Admiral Landry Approves BP’s “Top Kill” Technique; Procedure Begins
Federal On-Scene Coordinator Rear Admiral Mary Landry, acting on the validation of government scientists and in consultation with the National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen, has granted approval for BP to begin proceeding with their attempt to cap the well using the technique known as the “top kill.”
This expedited step provides the final authorization necessary to begin the procedure. BP began the procedure in the early afternoon.
Research Vessel Expands its Response Mission
The NOAA Ship Gordon Gunter, currently conducting sampling in the Gulf, will expand its mission to use its sophisticated sonar equipment and other scientific instruments to help define the plume near the Deepwater BP oil spill site and adjacent area. The mission is a collaborative project among NOAA, academia and the private sector.
Previously conducting plankton sampling in the south Gulf important to establish baseline conditions related to the oil spill, Gordon Gunter will begin additional work using its multibeam sonar than can scan subsurface features. Also aboard is a graduated net used for sampling at different depths. The 224-foot Gordon Gunter will conduct observations for fisheries, water, and acoustics sampling in the oil spill area and to the south.
Scientists Collaborate to Assess Unprecedented Usage of Dispersants
Interagency response partners are working with the Coastal Response Research Center, a partnership between NOAA and the University of New Hampshire, to bring leading scientists, practitioners, and representatives from federal and state governmental agencies and nongovernmental organizations together to address key questions arising from the unprecedented use of chemical dispersants in response to the BP oil spill.
Health Impact Surveillance Continues
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is conducting surveillance in Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Alabama and Florida to detect any potential health effects related to the oil spill using established national surveillance systems, including the National Poison Data System (NPDS) and BioSense to track respiratory, vascular, and dermal issues.
CDC is also coordinating and clarifying procedures and case definitions for FDA and states to use with surveillance systems in detecting illnesses associated with consumption of oil contaminated products.
NIEHS Provides Support to Oil Spill Response Worker Training Efforts
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Worker Education Training Program Emergency Support Activation Plan is augmenting the instructor resource pool with additional hazardous material trainers from the NIEHS network. NIEHS continues to work with BP’s training contractors to provide continuous improvement to developed curricula to support the protection of workers.
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.
By the Numbers to Date:
- Personnel were quickly deployed and more than 20,000 are currently responding to protect the shoreline and wildlife.
- Approximately 1,300 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 1.85 million feet of containment boom and 1.25 million feet of sorbent boom have been deployed to contain the spill—and approximately 300,000 feet of containment boom and 1 million feet of sorbent boom are available.
- Approximately 11 million gallons of an oil-water mix have been recovered.
- Approximately 840,000 gallons of total dispersant have been deployed—700,000 on the surface and 140,000 subsea. More than 380,000 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.