Washington, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)–August 10, 2010.
PAST 24 HOURS
Admiral Allen Provides an Update on the BP Oil Spill Response
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. A full transcript is available here.
Admiral Allen reported on the decision to temporarily suspend drilling of the relief well—a necessary step to ensure the well is permanently sealed—as a precautionary measure due to the threat of severe weather. He also described the ongoing effort to clean up impacted shorelines: “We continue our aggressive search for oil—whether it’s onshore or in the marshes—to make sure we’re being responsive to oil that does appear,” he said. “As we stated before, there’s little to no oil offshore at this point, so most of our effort has been at tar balls in the marsh area of Louisiana.”
NOAA Re-Opens More than 5,000 Square Miles of Gulf Waters to Commercial and Recreational Fishing; Approximately 78 Percent of Gulf Waters Are Open
NOAA reopened 5,144 square miles of Gulf waters to commercial and recreational finfish 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 52,395 miles—or 22 percent of the federal waters in the Gulf—down from 37 percent at its height.
Since July 3, NOAA data have shown no oil in the area, and Coast Guard observers flying over the area in the last 30 days have also not observed any oil. Trajectory models show the area is at a low risk for future exposure to oil and, most importantly, fish caught in the area and tested by NOAA experts have shown no signs of contamination. NOAA will continue to collect 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. For more information, click here.
Director Bromwich Hosts Fact-Finding Forum in Mobile
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement Director Michael R. Bromwich hosted the second in a series of public forums in Mobile, Ala.—designed to collect information and views from academia; the environmental community; federal, state and local officials; and the oil and gas industry on technical issues related to deepwater drilling safety reforms, well containment, and oil spill response.
Director Bromwich will consider this feedback in evaluating whether to recommend any modifications to the scope or duration of the deepwater drilling suspensions announced by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on July 12. The first meeting was held last week in New Orleans.
62 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 and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries released 62 rehabilitated birds—including roseate spoonbills, skimmers, gulls, and terns—back to the wild at the Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge. This was the fourth bird release within the State of Louisiana. To date, more than 800 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, 271 field personnel, 86 vessels, four helicopters and one float plane participated in reconnaissance and wildlife rescue and recovery missions. From the Mobile, Ala., Incident Command Post, wildlife recovery teams responded to 34 calls on the Wildlife Hotline. To report oiled wildlife, call (866) 557-1401.
Approved SBA Economic Injury Assistance Loans Surpass $20.3 Million
SBA has approved 232 economic injury assistance loans to date, totaling more than $20.3 million for small businesses in the Gulf Coast impacted by the BP oil spill. Additionally, the agency has granted deferments on 789 existing SBA disaster loans in the region, totaling more than $4.3 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 [email protected]
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. To date, 146,267 claims have been opened, from which more than $329 million have been disbursed. No claims have been denied to date. There are 1,250 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 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.