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.
President Obama and top administration officials met with top BP officials at the White House yesterday to discuss the ongoing efforts to stop the oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico and BP’s responsibility not only to pay for the cost of the cleanup of the oil spill, but also to compensate residents and businesses that have suffered financially as a result of the 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 June 16, 2010 7 PM
In the Past 24 Hours
President Obama and Top Administration Officials Hold Meeting with BP at White House
President Obama and top administration officials today met with BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg, CEO Tony Hayward and other top BP officials in the Roosevelt Room at the White House. They discussed the ongoing efforts to stop the oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico and BP’s responsibility not only to pay for the cost of the cleanup of the oil spill, but also to compensate residents and businesses that have suffered financially as a result of the oil spill.
In remarks after the meeting, the President announced that BP has agreed to set aside $20 billion in an escrow account to pay economic damage claims to people and businesses that have been affected by the oil spill, and that BP and the Administration agreed to appoint Ken Feinberg, who administered the claims process for victims of 9/11, to run the independent claims process.
President Obama Sends Letter to Congress on Budget Amendment for BP Oil Spill Commission
In a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, President Obama requested that Congress consider a budget amendment proposal for Fiscal Year 2011—for the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, which the President established by Executive Order to provide for a comprehensive look at how the oil and gas industry operates and how it is regulated.
Admiral Allen, Press Secretary Gibbs and Assistant to the President Carol Browner Hold Briefing at White House
National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and Carol Browner, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, provided a briefing at the White House 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.
Secretary Salazar Meets with Gulf Coast Elected Officials to Discuss BP Oil Spill Response
Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar today held meetings with Gulf Coast elected officials to discuss the administration’s ongoing response to the BP oil spill and ways to reform off-shore drilling practices to improve safety. Salazar met with House and Senate Members from Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi on Capitol Hill and later met with Louisiana officials—U.S. Senator Landrieu, Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Scott Angelle, and Parish Presidents—at the Department of Interior.
NOAA Expands Fishing Closed Area in Gulf of Mexico; More than Sixty-Six Percent of Gulf Federal Waters Remain Open
As part of continued efforts to ensure the safety of seafood from the Gulf of Mexico and protect consumers, NOAA has expanded the closed fishing area to capture portions of the oil slick moving beyond the area’s current northern boundary, off the Florida panhandle’s federal-state waterline. This boundary was moved just to the west of St. Joe Bay and Panama City Beach.
The closed area now represents 80,806 square miles—approximately 33.4 percent—of federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico—this closure does not apply to any state waters. This leaves more than 66 percent of Gulf federal waters available for fishing. Details can be found at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/.
Federal and Local Officials Hold Open House Meetings for Louisiana Residents
Representatives from the Coast Guard, Fish and Wildlife Service, EPA and other state and local partner agencies participating in the ongoing response effort to the BP oil spill today held the second in a series of open house meetings in Louisiana in Cameron Parish. The meetings are an opportunity for local residents to meet with experts and hear firsthand about the claims process, volunteer and contracting opportunities, environmental quality, worker safety and the various tools, equipment and strategies being used in the response. The first meeting was held yesterday in St. Bernard Parish, and a third is scheduled tomorrow in St. Mary’s Parish. Click here for more info.
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.
Progress Continues in Drilling Relief Wells
The Development Driller III continues to drill the first relief well to a depth of more than 15,000 feet—11 days ahead of schedule—and is beginning to angle the well at 23 degrees. The Development Driller II has drilled the second relief well to a depth of 9,774 feet.
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 210 burns have been conducted to remove a total of 5.2 million gallons of oil from the water to date.
Approved SBA Economic Injury Assistance Loans Surpass $4 Million
SBA has approved 69 economic injury assistance loans to date, totaling more than $4 million for small businesses in the Gulf Coast impacted by the BP oil spill. Additionally, the agency has granted deferments on 393 existing SBA disaster loans in the region, totaling more than $1.76 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 56,689 claims have been opened, from which more than $81.3 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 total vessels number reported in the June 15 update contained a reporting error.