Washington, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)–July 3, 2010.
PAST 24 HOURS
Administrator Jackson Continues Her Sixth Visit to the Gulf Coast
In her sixth visit to the Gulf Coast, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson today traveled to Florida to inspect the ongoing response to the BP oil spill. She visited Pensacola, Fla., to oversee beach cleanup operations and later met with EPA scientists in Gulf Breeze, Fla., to be briefed on ongoing dispersant testing. She also attended a meeting with local elected leaders, public health officials and other community representatives at the EPA’s Gulf Breeze Lab—to address concerns about the short- and long-term environmental impacts of the spill.
The EPA continues to monitor air, water and sediment quality in the Gulf of Mexico and test the impacts of chemical dispersants.
Shoreline Cleanup Operations Continue Along Gulf Coast
While some offshore mitigation efforts such as skimming and controlled burns have been restricted or halted due to elevated sea states from Hurricane Alex, shoreline cleanup operations continue in places where oil has come ashore.
Shoreline cleanup assessment teams monitor beaches and marshlands to identify impacted shoreline and determine the appropriate technique to remove the oil—taking into account various factors, such as the amount oil, its viscosity, and the environmental sensitivity of the impacted area. In some cases, the oil can be removed mechanically; at other times, teams of workers are the best method. In certain environmentally sensitive areas, cleanup operations can do more harm than good.
BP Continues to Optimize Oil Recovery Rates from its Leaking Well
Under the direction of the federal government, BP continues to capture some oil and burn gas at the surface using its containment dome technique—collecting oil aboard the Discoverer Enterprise, which is linked by a fixed riser pipe to the wellhead, and flaring off additional oil and gas on the Q4000, which is connected to the choke line. The collection capacity is expected to increase to an estimated 53,000 barrels per day once the third vessel, the Helix Producer, begins bringing additional oil up through the kill line—a redundancy measure also taken at the administration’s direction.
Progress Continues in Drilling Relief Wells; Ranging Process Continues
The drilling of relief wells continues and has not been interrupted by elevated sea states. The Development Driller III has drilled the first relief well to a depth of approximately 17,400 feet below the Gulf surface. The Development Driller II has drilled the second relief well—a redundancy measure taken at the direction of the administration—to a depth of more than 13,800 feet below the surface. BP continues the “ranging” process—which involves periodically withdrawing the drill pipe and sending an electrical signal down to determine how close they are getting to the wellbore.
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, 1,577 are active.
- Approximately 44,300 personnel are currently responding to protect the shoreline and wildlife and cleanup vital coastlines.
- More than 6,900 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 2.87 million feet of containment boom and 5.09 million feet of sorbent boom have been deployed to contain the spill—and approximately 863,000 feet of containment boom and 2.36 million feet of sorbent boom are available.
- More than 28.2 million gallons of an oil-water mix have been recovered.
- Approximately 1.67 million gallons of total dispersant have been applied—1.06 million on the surface and 612,000 sub-sea. More than 451,000 gallons are available.
- 275 controlled burns have been conducted, efficiently removing a total of approximately 10 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 444 miles of Gulf Coast shoreline is currently oiled—approximately 258 miles in Louisiana, 62 miles in Mississippi, 51 miles in Alabama, and 73 miles in Florida. These numbers reflect a daily snapshot of shoreline currently experiencing impacts from oil 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 80,228 square miles of Gulf of Mexico federal waters remain closed to fishing in order to balance economic and public health concerns. More than 66 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 Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Qatar, Russia, Spain, United Kingdom, Tunisia the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization and the European Union’s Monitoring and Information Centre.