Washington, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)–July 30, 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. He was joined by Major General Garry Dean from Tyndall Air Force base.
Major General Dean gave an overview of the Air Force’s role in the response—managing the air space in the vicinity of the well and along the Gulf coastline and facilitating the collection of aerial surveillance data and communicating that information to response crews on the water and on the shoreline.
Admiral Allen reiterated the administration’s commitment to long-term recovery in the Gulf. “We are on scene. We are fully staffed and ready to go. Let me restate to the American public and the people of the Gulf coast: we are here to see this thing through to the finish,” he said. Our forces are ready to deploy. We are going to make sure this well is killed, make sure the oil on the surface is responded to, and make sure the shores are clean—and how clean is clean is something we will develop with our local leaders and the trustees of all of the resources that are applied as we move forward.”
NOAA: Gulf’s Surface Oil Not a Threat to Southern Florida, Keys, and East Coast
Southern Florida, the Florida Keys, and the East Coast are not likely to experience any effects from the remaining oil on the surface of the Gulf as the oil continues to degrade and is hundreds of miles away from the loop current, according to a new NOAA analysis—including aerial and satellite-based observations of surface oil and monitoring of the loop current. This analysis assumes the Deepwater Horizon/BP wellhead will remained capped.
“For southern Florida, the Florida Keys, and the Eastern Seaboard, the coast remains clear,” said NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D. “With the flow stopped and the loop current a considerable distance away, the light sheen remaining on the Gulf’s surface will continue to biodegrade and disperse, but will not travel far.”
FDA Expresses Confidence in Seafood Testing
The Food and Drug Administration today released a statement expressing confidence in the process for re-opening closed fishing areas. NOAA has closed portions of the Gulf to fishing as a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of seafood from the Gulf of Mexico and protect consumers.
“Through close coordination with our state and federal partners, we are confident all appropriate steps have been taken to ensure that seafood harvested from the waters being opened today is safe and that Gulf seafood lovers everywhere can be confident eating and enjoying the fish and shrimp that will be coming out of this area,” the FDA statement said.
Drilling of the Relief Well Continues
Development Driller III is clearing out debris that was found at the bottom of the wellbore and preparing to lay the casing line, a necessary step before beginning the static kill procedure—which involves pumping mud and cement in through the top of the well. Development Driller II is conducting maintenance and will hold operations and await results of the DDIII relief well. Development Driller III has drilled the first relief well to a depth of 17,864 feet below the Gulf surface and Development Driller II has drilled the second relief well—a redundancy measure taken at the direction of the administration—to a depth of 15,963 feet below the surface.
Seismic and Acoustic Testing Continue to Ensure the Integrity of the Wellhead
In order to ensure the integrity of the wellhead and search for and respond to anomalies, the research vessel Geco Topaz is conducting seismic surveys of the seafloor around the wellhead, and the NOAA Ship Gordon Gunter is conducting acoustic surveys—part of continued efforts to use the best scientific tools available in response to the BP oil spill. As of this morning, the pressure continues to rise, demonstrating that it has integrity, and is currently at 6,969 pounds per square inch.
FWS Personnel Continue Wildlife Rescue and Recovery Missions Across the Region
As part of the ongoing effort to protect wildlife and wildlife habitats from the impacts of the BP oil spill, two sea turtle nests with a total of 181 eggs were excavated and relocated from St. Vincent’s National Wildlife Refuge.
From the Houma, La., Incident Command Post, 272 field personnel, 82 vessels and 3 helicopters participated in reconnaissance and wildlife rescue and recovery missions. From the Mobile, Ala., Incident Command Post, wildlife recovery teams responded to 41 calls on the Wildlife Hotline. To report oiled wildlife, call (866) 557-1401.
Shoreline Cleanup Operations Continue Along the Gulf Coast
Cleanup operations to remove oil and oiled debris from shorelines continue on National Parks Service lands and Fish and Wildlife Service refuges along the Gulf Coast. On the Gulf Islands National Seashore, a 22-person crew removed 16,225 pounds of oiled debris from Horn Island; a 30-person crew removed 8,000 pounds from Petit Bois Island; a 26-person crew removed 1,025 pounds from Ship Island; and a 30-person crew removed 2,050 pounds from Cat Island.
Approved SBA Economic Injury Assistance Loans Surpass $17.5 Million
SBA has approved 208 economic injury assistance loans to date, totaling more than $17.5 million for small businesses in the Gulf Coast impacted by the BP oil spill. Additionally, the agency has granted deferments on 707 existing SBA disaster loans in the region, totaling more than $3.7 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 [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, 135,217 claims have been opened, from which more than $261 million have been disbursed. No claims have been denied to date. There are 1,264 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 since yesterday is due to the recovery of some displaced boom in Florida. Once recovered, this boom must be decontaminated, repaired, inspected, and certified before being staged or redeployed.