The Ongoing Administration-Wide Response to the Deepwater BP Oil Spill
Prepared by the Joint Information Center
UPDATED May 29, 2010 7 PM
* For a full timeline of the Administration-wide response, visit the White House Blog.
PAST 24 HOURS
BP Halts “Top Kill” Attempt; Lays Out Next Steps
BP announced that it will case its unsuccessful attempt to use the “top kill” technique to cap the well—a decision made under approval and consultation with federal government scientists and engineers, including Energy Secretary Steven Chu. BP will now cut off a kinked portion of the riser and attempt to lower a device over the area that will allow them to try and capture a substantial amount of the oil leaking out.
The President issued the following statement: Today, I’ve spoken with National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen, as well as Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, and senior White House advisors John Brennan and Carol Browner regarding the ongoing efforts to stop the BP oil spill. From the beginning, our concern has been that the surest way to stop the flow of oil – the drilling of relief wells – would take several months to complete. So engineers and experts have explored a variety of alternatives to stop the leak now. They had hoped that the top kill approach attempted this week would halt the flow of oil and gas currently escaping from the seafloor. But while we initially received optimistic reports about the procedure, it is now clear that it has not worked. Rear Admiral Mary Landry today directed BP to launch a new procedure whereby the riser pipe will be cut and a containment structure fitted over the leak.
This approach is not without risk and has never been attempted before at this depth. That is why it was not activated until other methods had been exhausted. It will be difficult and will take several days. It is also important to note that while we were hopeful that the top kill would succeed, we were also mindful that there was a significant chance it would not. And we will continue to pursue any and all responsible means of stopping this leak until the completion of the two relief wells currently being drilled.
As I said yesterday, every day that this leak continues is an assault on the people of the Gulf Coast region, their livelihoods, and the natural bounty that belongs to all of us. It is as enraging as it is heartbreaking, and we will not relent until this leak is contained, until the waters and shores are cleaned up, and until the people unjustly victimized by this manmade disaster are made whole.
The President Dispatches Top Officials to Return to the Gulf Region
At the direction of the President, Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson and NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco will return to the Gulf region next week as they continue their work, aggressively responding to the BP oil spill.
These officials’ actions on scene will be coordinated by National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen, who is leading the administration-wide response and directing all interagency activities.
Administrator Jackson will make her fourth trip to the Gulf Coast to inspect coastline protection and cleanup activities and meet with community members to discuss ongoing efforts to mitigate the oils impacts on public health and the environment. A native of the Gulf region, Administrator Jackson will spend a total of six days on the ground, visiting Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama to review plans for cleanup of oil-impacted wetlands and marshes, analyze scientific monitoring of dispersant use, and ensure that recovery and cleanup plans are proceeding quickly.
Secretary Salazar will make his eighth trip to the area to meet with top BP officials, federal personnel and government scientists in Houston to get a firsthand account of the on-scene direction and oversight of BPs efforts to cap the leaking well. He will also participate in discussions with state, local and business leaders to discuss the ways the administration is supporting their communities during this catastrophe.
Administrator Lubchenco will make her third visit to the affected area to meet with top government and independent scientists and engineers who are working with BP and coordinating efforts across the federal government to ensure the best science is used to assess and mitigate the BP oil spill’s impacts to the environment.
Visits by Senior Officials to the Affected Region Total 28
In total, senior administration officials have visited the region 28 times since BPs oil rig exploded on April 20—including trips by the President, National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen, Interior Secretary Salazar, EPA Administrator Jackson, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, NOAA Administrator Lubchenco and SBA Administrator Karen Mills.
Progress Continues in Drilling Relief Wells
The Development Driller III and Development Driller II continue to drill the first and second relief wells, respectively.
By the Numbers to Date:
- Personnel were quickly deployed and more than 20,000 are currently responding to protect the shoreline and wildlife.
- More than 1,400 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 1.9 million feet of containment boom and 1.8 million feet of sorbent boom have been deployed to contain the spill—and approximately 390,000 feet of containment boom and 1.27 million feet of sorbent boom are available.
- Approximately 12.1 million gallons of an oil-water mix have been recovered.
- Approximately 910,000 gallons of total dispersant have been deployed—720,000 on the surface and 180,000 subsea. More than 450,000 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.