The Ongoing Administration-Wide Response to the Deepwater BP Oil Spill
PAST 24 HOURS
Top Officials Visit Gulf Coast
Top administration officials traveled to the Gulf Coast at the direction of the President to meet with federal, state and local officials, as well as local business leaders, as part of their continued oversight of BP’s efforts to plug the leak and contain the spill, and their ongoing emphasis on interagency coordination in response to the event.
Secretary Napolitano and Secretary Locke visited Biloxi, Miss., and Pensacola, Fla., to inspect response operations, meet with state, local and private sector leaders, and view firsthand staging areas for the deployment of boom to protect vital shoreline from the oil spill. Administrator Lubchenco accompanied the group to Biloxi, then joined White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley in Pascagoula, Miss., to tour NOAA’s seafood inspection lab.
Secretary Salazar visited the Mobile Command Center in Mobile, Ala., to observe response efforts and talk with responders about ongoing operations and mitigation plans. He also met with BP Officials at their command center in Houston to get an update on BP’s efforts to close down their leaks.
EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe traveled to Louisiana, where he reviewed EPA’s ongoing air and water monitoring activities, met with local and community leaders, and assessed the environmental situation on the ground.
Low-Interest Loans for Small Businesses
Small Business Administration Administrator Karen Mills announced the agency is making low-interest loans available to Louisiana Gulf Coast small businesses suffering financial losses following the oil spill, which shut down commercial and recreational fishing along the state’s southeast coast—acting under the SBA’s authority to offer economic injury assistance in response to a May 4 request from Gov. Bobby Jindal.
NOAA Mission Redirected for Oil Spill Response
A NOAA-sponsored ocean mission, set to explore for deep sea corals, has been redirected to collect seafloor and water column data from areas near the Gulf of Mexico oil spill source. Researchers from the National Institute for Undersea Science and Technology are on a university research ship to obtain core sediment samples from the seafloor and water samples from the water column in areas near the spill source. The samples are expected to provide important information about the abundance of marine organisms and the presence of chemicals in ocean water and sediments—information for a baseline against which to measure change if those areas are affected by sinking oil.
Oil Reaches Shoreline
Shoreline Cleanup and Assessment Teams (SCAT)—federal, state and BP officials working to assess and determine how cleanup will be conducted, and oversee cleanup operations—confirmed that oil was found on the beach at Chandeleur Islands, a small group of uninhabited barrier islands off the northeast of the Mississippi Delta. The Chandeleur Islands are part of the Breton National Wildlife Refuge.
Successful Controlled Burn
Favorable weather conditions allowed responders to conduct a successful controlled burn operation for the second consecutive day. 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.
Emergency Response Stockpiles Arrive
More than 80 flatbed trucks carrying Emergency Ship Salvage Material supplies—part of a managed network of emergency response equipment stockpiles pre-positioned to support and augment U.S. Navy Fleet capabilities to respond to pollution and other events—have arrived at staging areas for immediate deployment.
Cofferdam Drill Ship Inspection Completed
MMS completed its production system inspection for the drill ship Discoverer Enterprise—the vessel that will be used to operate the cofferdam system and process the oily water pumped from the riser plume.
CDC Toxic Substance Monitoring
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Center for Environmental Health and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry are monitoring the gulf oil spill and offering assistance as needed to lead federal agencies and impacted states and communities.
Oil Cleanup Worker Health & Safety Training
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences is working with BP contractors to provide technical assistance in development and deployment of health and safety training to workers.
New Weather Forecast Website
NOAA’s National Weather Service has created a special forecast website, available at http://www.srh.noaa.gov/lix/.
NOAA Aircraft Missions
NOAA aircraft flew marine mammal survey missions and ocean imaging missions—providing valuable information about the oil thickness and density on the ocean surface.
NPS Incident Management Teams
The National Park Service has activated two incident management teams in the Gulf. Many other park service employees in the area are supporting the response with technical information and assistance.
Aerial Dispersant Spray Missions
Modular Aerial Spray System (MASS) aircraft flew numerous dispersant missions—dispensing the same dispersant chemical being used by BP and the federal responders. These systems are capable of covering up to 250 acres per flight. To ensure nearby residents are informed and protected, the EPA is constantly monitoring air quality in the Gulf area through air monitoring air craft, and fixed and mobile air stations.
By the Numbers to Date:
- Personnel were quickly deployed and more than 10,000 are currently responding to protect the shoreline and wildlife.
- Nearly 270 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.
- Approximately 750,000 of feet of boom (regular and sorbent) have been deployed to contain the spill—and 1.4 million feet are available.
- More than 1.8 million gallons of an oil-water mix have been recovered.
- More than 253,000 gallons of dispersant have been deployed. More than 317,000 gallons are available.
- 10 staging areas have been set up to protect vital shoreline in all potentially affected Gulf Coast states (Biloxi, Miss., Panama City, Fla., Pensacola, Fla., Pascagoula, Miss., Dauphin Island, Ala., Port Sulphur, La., Shell Beach, La., Slidell, La., Port Fourchon, La., Venice, La.).