RestoretheGulf.gov is the official federal portal for the Deepwater BP oil spill response and recovery. This site provides the public with information on the response, current operations, news and updates, how to file a claim and obtain other assistance, and links to federal, state and local partners.
Long-Term Gulf Coast Restoration Support Plan
In order to address the long-term environmental, economic, and societal impacts of the Deepwater Horizon-BP oil spill, and weave together local plans and development priorities with state and federal assistance, the President asked Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, a former Mississippi governor, to lead the integrated Gulf Coast Reconstruction Effort.
Subsequently, the Secretary spent countless hours in the Gulf, hearing from thousands of local residents, businesses, and elected officials to shape the foundation for his report. The resulting plan balances the needs of the people, the environment, and the economic livelihood of the region. It provides a proposal for a path forward to rebuild and preserve the Gulf’s unique ecosystem, to succeed in creating sustained economic development, and to succeed in giving opportunities back to those whose livelihoods have been shattered by the spill.
To begin to implement the plan, the President has asked EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to chair the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force. This advisory body will focus on efforts to create more resilient and healthy Gulf Coast ecosystems, while also encouraging support for economic recovery and long-term health issues.
The Unified Area Command
A Unified Command has been established to manage response operations to the April 20, 2010 oil spill. A Unified Command links the organizations responding to an incident and provides a forum for those organizations to make consensus decisions. This site is maintained by the Unified Command's Joint Information Center (JIC), which provides the public with reliable, timely information about the response.
Since the moments after the oil rig explosion on the night of April 20, DHS has played a lead role in federal response efforts—deploying the U.S. Coast Guard to search and rescue the 126 people aboard the rig, and quickly leading efforts to establish a command center on the Gulf Coast to address the potential environmental impact of the event and to coordinate with all state and local governments. Secretary Napolitano leads the National Response Team, an organization of 16 federal departments and agencies responsible for coordinating emergency preparedness and response to oil and hazardous substance pollution events.
The Coast Guard has played a major role from the very beginning, when it responded to the explosion on a search and rescue mission to save lives. The Federal On-Scene Coordinator lead a Regional Response Team that included DHS, DOC/NOAA, DOI and the EPA, as well as state and local representatives. As the event escalated, Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen was announced as the National Incident Commander for the administration's continued, coordinated response—providing additional coordinated oversight in leveraging every available resource to respond to the oil spill and minimize the associated environmental risks.
The morning after the explosion, Secretary of the Interior deployed Deputy Secretary David J. Hayes to the Gulf Coast to assist with coordination and response to the event, and provide hourly reports back to the administration. Since then, DOI has played a vital role in overseeing BP's response efforts while—at the President's request—working to deliver a report with recommendations on what, if any, additional safety measures should be required for offshore operations. Secretary Salazar has announced that inspections of all deepwater rigs and platforms are underway.
The National Laboratories were convened by the Department of Energy and tasked to begin looking at ways to plug the leak in the Gulf the week of April 26th. At the direction of the President, Secretary Chu assembled a scientific team of top scientists and has made several trips to Houston, monitoring the progress of BP's effort to contain the leak and helping to design the strategies for moving forward. The team includes:
- Dr. Tom Hunter, Director of the Department of Energy's Sandia National Laboratories
- Dr. George A. Cooper, an expert in materials science and retired professor from UC Berkeley
- Richard Lawrence Garwin, a physicist and IBM Fellow Emeritus
- Dr. Alexander H. Slocum, professor of mechanical engineering at MIT
Secretary Chu is on the phone with his science team a minimum of 1-2 times a day, 7 days a week, and the calls frequently last 90 minutes or more. Secretary Chu and members of his team also have a dialogue with BP executives each morning.
Since the Oil Spill, EPA has provided full support to the U.S. Coast Guard and is monitoring and responding to potential public health and environmental concerns. Environmental data, including air quality and water samples, will be posted and frequently updated on this site as it is collected and validated by EPA's response teams along the impacted coastlines. This data is meant to determine potential risks to public health and the environment.
Weather Forecast: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/lix/
NOAA has been on the scene of the BP/Deepwater Horizon spill from the start, providing coordinated scientific support to the spill response including weather, biological and chemical expertise, and predicting where the oil is going. NOAA is collecting and analyzing information on potential impacts to fish, shellfish, marine mammals, turtles, birds and other sensitive resources as well as their habitats, including wetlands, beaches, bottom sediments, corals and the water column. Lost human uses of these resources as a result of the spill are also being assessed.
SBA is making low-interest loans available to small businesses in the Gulf Coast regions of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi suffering financial losses following the April 20 oil spill that shut down commercial and recreational fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) are available immediately in designated counties and parishes of each of the four states to help meet the financial needs of qualifying small businesses following the oil spill.
DOD continues to support the ongoing response effort by lending Naval and Air Force bases to provide vital staging areas for boom deployments and other activities, and providing C-130 aircraft equipped with Modular Aerial Spray Systems, which dispense chemical dispersant—capable of covering up to 250 acres per flight. DOD also plays a significant role in the National Response Team, helping to lead the coordination of response actions for the federal government. Secretary of Defense Gates has authorized use of Title 32 status for up to 17,500 National Guard members in four states: Alabama (3,000), Florida (2,500), Louisiana (6,000) and Mississippi (6,000).
The Fish and Wildlife Service continues to support the joint agency response to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico with experienced specialists, land managers, and support personnel. Booms to capture and deflect anticipated oil are being deployed at Breton National Wildlife Refuge, where thousands of brown pelicans and shorebirds are currently nesting. The Service also is initiating Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration activities in this incident to assess and address the long-term damage to impacted resources.
The National Park Service is focused on human safety and resource protection in eight national parks in the Gulf area. These parks are working to assess resources, collect baseline data, coordinate boom placements, plan for responsible cleanup, install barriers for shore bird and turtle nest protection, and plan for potential park closures, if necessary.
A number of agencies within the Department of Labor are working every day for the health, safety, and well-being of those involved in the oil spill response and cleanup operations. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is evaluating the safety at worksites around the Gulf, covering the vessels of opportunity, beach cleanup, staging areas, decontamination, distribution and deployment sites. Worker exposure data and requirements for training and personal protective equipment are posted on OSHA's website. The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) operates a number of Career One-Stop centers in the area, and is helping to facilitate retraining and re-employment assistance to help workers who have been displaced find new work opportunities. In addition, DOL is providing resources to area workers regarding wage laws and federal contract compliance.
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) agencies, coordinated by the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response on behalf of the Secretary, continue to take steps necessary to protect the health of responders and residents, monitor the short- and long-term potential health impacts of oil and dispersants, and ensure the safety of seafood from areas affected by the oil disaster.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is supporting states meet the behavioral health needs stemming from the oil spill by providing technical assistance, disseminating pubic information, supporting the Oil Spill Distress Helpline (1-800-985-5990), and assisting in the assessment of behavioral health needs of the affected communities.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), other Federal agencies, and several state authorities to closely monitor the situation and its potential impact on the safety of seafood harvested from the area.
The National Institute of Environmental Health Science (NIEHS), part of the National Institutes of Health, is taking the lead in designing a large prospective health study of oil spill clean-up workers and volunteers, and its Worker Education and Training Program (WETP) was on the scene assisting with safety training for clean-up workers immediately following the oil spill.
CDC's National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is collaborating with BP Safety and U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) compliance personnel to coordinate the collection and analysis of injury and illness data reported by BP. NIOSH also conducted a voluntary survey of workers who participated in the response to create a record and a mechanism to contact these workers about spill-related symptoms of illness or injury, if it becomes necessary. HHS will continue to actively monitor and assist where needed to ensure that the health and human services needed for recovery are available.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is closely coordinating with other federal departments to meet the immediate and long-term needs of the Gulf oil spill. USDA continues to provide expertise and resources to assist wildlife rescue, increase migratory bird habitat, as well as plan for longer-term needs for wetland restoration once the oil spill has been contained. And while the full impact of the spill on the regional economy of the Gulf States is not yet known, USDA continues to communicate with state officials in the affected region to ensure that their needs are met and USDA services are not interrupted. USDA is using all available options through its nutrition assistance programs to ensure no family goes hungry and rural housing mortgage assistance to ease financial burdens of rural low-income people in the area, not only for those affected by the oil spill, but all low-income people in those States.
The USGS continues to mobilize equipment and personnel to gather scientific data and information on the environmental impacts of the oil spill to affected coastal habitats.