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The Ongoing Administration-Wide Response to the Deepwater BP Oil Spill

Prepared by the Joint Information Center

UPDATED August 27, 2010 7 PM

*For a full timeline of the Administration-wide response, visit the White House Blog.

<PAST 24 HOURS

Admiral Allen Directs BP to Terminate the Fishing Procedure and Begin Removal of the Capping Stack and BOP

National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen provided a briefing to inform the American public and answer questions on the administration-wide response to the BP oil spill. Admiral Allen discussed his announcement today to authorize BP to terminate the fishing procedure and begin the removal of the capping stack followed by the BOP, including the specific conditions required for the removals to take place. The directive can be viewed here. A full transcript is available here.

NOAA Re-Opens More than 4,000 Square Miles of Closed Gulf Fishing Area; Approximately 80 percent of Federal Waters Remain Open

NOAA reopened 4,281 square miles of Gulf waters off western Louisiana to commercial and recreational fishing. The reopening was announced after consultation with FDA and under a re-opening protocol agreed to by NOAA, the FDA, and the Gulf states. The closed area now measures 48,114 square miles—or 20 percent of the federal waters in the Gulf. 

On July 18, NOAA data showed no oil in the area. Light sheen was observed on July 29, but none since. Trajectory models show the area is at a low risk for future exposure to oil, and fish caught in the area and tested by NOAA experts have shown no signs of contamination. NOAA will continue to take samples for testing from the newly re-opened area, and the agency has also implemented dockside sampling to test fish caught throughout the Gulf by commercial fishermen. To view the fact sheet released today on the administration-wide effort to ensure Gulf seafood safety, click here.

Administration Continues Dockside Chats to Promote Gulf Seafood Safety Awareness

Senior Obama Administration officials today continued a series of dockside chats with events in Ocean Spring and Pascagoula, Miss.; Bayou La Batrie, Ala.; and Panama City, Fla.—designed to engage fishers, shrimpers, oystermen and crabbers, as well as local officials and promote accurate information about the safety of Gulf seafood from waters open to fishing.

The series of eight dockside chats—held in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida Panhandle communities in coordination with state governments—include representatives from various state and federal agencies that play a vital role in the government-wide effort to manage fisheries, test and monitor seafood, regulate the seafood industry and test environmental factors related to seafood, such as water and air. 

79 Rehabilitated Birds Released Back to Wild

As part of continued efforts to protect wildlife and wildlife habitats in the Gulf of Mexico, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Hammond Wildlife Rehabilitation Center and Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries released 79 rehabilitated birds back to the wild at the Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge—including 58 Laughing Gulls, 10 Royal Terns, 1 Sandwich Tern, 1 Caspian Tern, 1 Great Blue Heron, 5 Clapper Rails, 2 Roseate Spoonbills, and 1 Black Skimmer. To date, approximately 1,000 birds have been released throughout the Gulf Coast since the BP oil spill began.

FWS Personnel Continue Wildlife Rescue and Recovery Missions Across the Region

From the Houma, La., Incident Command Post, 246 field personnel, 75 vessels, two helicopters and one airplane participated in reconnaissance and wildlife rescue and recovery missions, responding to 66 calls on the Wildlife Hot line. From the Mobile, Ala., Incident Command Post, 20 two-person teams and 19 vessels participated in reconnaissance and wildlife rescue and recovery missions, responding to 26 calls. To report oiled wildlife, call (866) 557-1401.

Shoreline Cleanup Operations Continue Along the Gulf Coast

As part of continued efforts to protect wildlife and wildlife habitats from the impacts of the BP oil spill, FWS and National Parks Service cleanup crews continued shoreline cleanup operations at Gulf Islands National Seashore and at FWS refuges—removing oil debris from Dauphin Island (240 lbs), Fort Pickens (2,587 lbs), Ivan’s Cut (460 lbs), Perdido (700 lbs), Santa Rosa (901 lbs).

Approved SBA Economic Injury Assistance Loans Surpass $24.4 Million

SBA has approved 275 economic injury assistance loans to date, totaling more than $24.4 million for small businesses in the Gulf Coast impacted by the BP oil spill. Additionally, the agency has granted deferments on 855 existing SBA disaster loans in the region, totaling more than $4.7 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

Independent Gulf Coast Claims Facility Disburses more than $75K in First Week

Since the BP oil spill response began, the administration has worked to hold the responsible parties accountable for repairing the damage, and repaying Americans who have suffered a financial loss—first by directing BP to improve its claims process and then by establishing the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF), the independent agency administered by Kenneth Feinberg which was formed in June as part of an agreement between the Obama Administration and BP.

To date, 20,062 claims have been opened through the GCCF, from which more than $75,000 have been disbursed—in addition to the more than 150,000 claims filed and $395 million disbursed through the BP claims process. For information on how to file a claim, visit the Gulf Coast Claims Facility Web site. Additional information about the 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, 1,154 are active.
  •  More than 28,500 personnel are currently responding to protect the shoreline and wildlife and cleanup vital coastlines.
  • Approximately 4,400 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 1.82 million feet of containment boom* and 9.15 million feet of sorbent boom have been deployed to contain the spill—and approximately 2.26 million feet of containment boom and 3.43 million feet of sorbent boom are available.
  • More than 34.7 million gallons of an oil-water mix have been recovered.
  • Approximately 1.84 million gallons of total dispersant have been applied—1.07 million on the surface and 771,000 sub-sea. Approximately 577,000 gallons are available.
  • 411 controlled burns have been conducted, efficiently removing a total of more than 11.14 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 129 miles of Gulf Coast shoreline is currently experiencing moderate to heavy oil impacts—approximately 113 miles in Louisiana, 11 miles in Mississippi, 3 miles in Alabama, and 2 miles in Florida. Approximately 519 miles of shoreline are experiencing light to trace oil impacts—approximately 231 miles in Louisiana, 97 miles in Mississippi, 65 miles in Alabama, and 126 miles in Florida. These numbers reflect a daily snapshot 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.
  • Approximately 48,114 square miles of Gulf of Mexico federal waters remain closed to fishing in order to balance economic and public health concerns. Approximately 80 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 Argentina, Belgium, Canada, China, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Qatar, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization, the European Union’s Monitoring and Information Centre, and the European Maritime Safety Agency.

*The decrease in boom numbers is due to the continued recovery of displaced boom. Once recovered, this boom must be decontaminated, repaired, inspected, and certified before being staged or redeployed. New boom is being deployed in some areas.