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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Deepwater Horizon Incident: Situation Report

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

July 9, 2010

Admiral Allen Provides Operational 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 progress of the administration-wide response to the BP oil spill.

HHS Provides Resources on Mental Health Issues Related to the BP Oil Spill
As part of continued efforts to address the many health impacts of the BP oil spill, the Department of Health and Human Services is working to raise awareness about mental health issues that may affect Gulf Coast residents. Click here for resources on dealing with mental health issues.

July 8, 2010

Admiral Allen Provides Operational Update on the BP Oil Spill Response
Admiral Allen provided a briefing to inform the American public and answer questions on the progress of the administration-wide response to the BP oil spill.

NIH to Conduct Research to Examine Potential Effects of BP Oil Spill on Human Health
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced that $10 million will be devoted to research the potential human health effects of the oil spill. The NIH National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) will recruit clean-up workers and Gulf residents to collect biological samples, health histories, and information about the clean-up work they performed and the nature of their oil exposure.

In the near term, NIH will establish a baseline of such information, and then monitor the oil spill workers for respiratory, immunological and neurobehavioral effects. NIEHS will work with other federal partners, local communities and universities to assess and implement its research plan.

The summaries from April 20, 2010 to July 7, 2010 are comprised of excerpts from the White House Blog.  Beginning on July 8, the summaries were developed using excerpts from RestoreTheGulf.gov, the official federal portal for the Deepwater BP oil spill response and recovery.

July 7, 2010

Administration Launches New, Streamlined Oil Spill Response Website
A new federal web portal was launched today—RestoreTheGulf.gov—dedicated to providing the American people with clear and accessible information and resources related to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill response and recovery.

RestoreTheGulf.gov is designed to serve as a one-stop repository for news, data and operational updates related to administration-wide efforts to stop the BP oil leak and mitigate its impact on the environment, the economy and public health—unifying web resources across the administration and increasing public access to the latest information.

The site offers easy-to-navigate information about the claims and appeals process—as well as other types of assistance available from federal, state, local and non-government sources—for individuals, businesses and communities who have been affected by the spill. It will also contain information about plans for the long-term economic and environmental restoration in the Gulf Coast region. Visit RestoreTheGulf.gov.

Admiral Allen Provides Operational Update While Aboard the Discoverer Enterprise
National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen provided a briefing to inform the American public and answer questions on the progress of the administration-wide response to the BP oil spill aboard the Discoverer Enterprise.

Allen traveled to the well site to get a firsthand look at on-scene conditions in the wake of the passage of recent severe weather, as well as the front currently passing over the Yucatan, which has generated sea states that have had an impact on operations.

Oil Recovered Graph Demonstrates Collection Progress
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. BP also is in the progress of connecting a floating riser pipe to third vessel, the Helix Producer, which will increase collection capacity to an estimated 53,000 barrels per day by bringing up additional oil up through the kill line—a redundancy measure also taken at the administration’s direction.

Progress Continues in Drilling Relief Wells
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 17,780 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 approximately 13,900 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.

Federal Agencies Meet with NAACP and Gulf State Officials on Hurricane Planning
Representatives from FEMA, the Coast Guard and the Environmental Protection Agency held a briefing in Mobile, Ala., on hurricane and natural disaster contingency planning with state emergency planners, the Red Cross and NAACP representatives from throughout the Gulf Coast.

July 6, 2010

Admiral Allen Provides Operational 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 progress of the administration-wide response to the BP oil spill. He discussed the progress being made in connecting the Helix Producer to the floating riser pipe, NOAA’s monitoring of weather in the Gulf of Mexico and its potential impacts on cleanup operations, and the status of plans to replace the current containment cap.

Federal and State Officials Develop a Partnership to Determine Safe Fishing Areas
As part of the ongoing efforts to ensure the safety of seafood coming from the Gulf, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and state authorities have agreed upon a shared protocol that will be used by federal and state officials to determine when it is safe to-reopen waters for seafood harvesting. This protocol was announced by Vice President Biden during his visit to the Gulf Coast last week.

FDA Continues Its Inspection of Seafood Processors to Ensure Health and Safety
FDA continues to inspect primary seafood processors along the Gulf Coast to ensure compliance with existing controls to guard against chemical contaminants in the processing of seafood. The FDA has a toll-free number (888-INFO-FDA) for questions or concerns about seafood or to report any seafood suspected of being contaminated with oil.

Authorities Continue Their Safety Oversight to Protect Response Workers
In order to protect responders and workers, the National Institute of Environmental Sciences has developed two safety and awareness courses as well as a 40-hour training module on hazardous waste operations and emergency response (HAZWOPER). Nearly 50,000 individuals throughout the Gulf Coast region have completed the two-to-four hour safety and awareness courses and more than 1,000 people have finished the HAZWOPER training.

CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is monitoring workers involved in the clean-up effort: identifying job duties and locations, training, and personal protective equipment used. This will be used to track worker health over time. So far information from approximately 27,000 workers has been entered into the NIOSH system.

BP Continues to Optimize Oil Recovery Rates; Prepares to Increase Collection Capacity
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. BP also has begun connecting a floating riser pipe to third vessel, the Helix Producer, which will increase collection capacity to an estimated 53,000 barrels per day by bringing up additional oil up through the kill line—a redundancy measure also taken at the administration’s direction.

July 5, 2010

Crews Continue to Assess the Effects of Recent Weather on Response Operations; Skimming Operations Resume
Crews in Louisiana and along the Gulf Coast continue to repair boom and survey for additional oil deposits after heavy weather moved through the area last week. Heavy winds and waves have blown sand across beaches, burying oil and displacing boom. Normalized sea states have allowed skimming operations to resume. The number of skimming vessels involved in the response has increased more than fivefold in the past month, and more than 31.3 million gallons of an oil-water mix have been recovered through the use of skimmers to date.

BP Continues to Optimize Oil Recovery Rates; Prepares to Increase Collection Capacity
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. BP also continues to put the necessary equipment in place to connect a third vessel, the Helix Producer, which will increase collection capacity to an estimated 53,000 barrels per day by bringing up 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 more than 17,700 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 approximately 13,900 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.

NOAA Expands Fishing Restriction in the Gulf; More than 66 Percent Remains Open
As a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of seafood from the Gulf of Mexico and protect consumers, NOAA has expanded the closed fishing area in the Gulf of Mexico to include portions of the oil slick moving beyond the area’s current northwestern boundary, off the Louisiana federal-state waterline. This boundary was moved westward off Vermilion Bay. The closed area now represents 81,181 square miles—approximately 33.5 percent—of federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico. This closure does not apply to any state waters. This leaves more than 66 percent of Gulf federal waters available for fishing.

July 4, 2010

Crews Assess the Effects of Recent Weather on Response Operations
Crews in Louisiana and along the Gulf Coast are checking deployed boom and surveying for additional oil deposits after heavy weather moved through the area. Heavy winds and waves have blown sand across beaches, burying oil and boom. Reports of damaged and stranded boom have been received from Plaquemines, Terrebonne, Iberia, Jefferson and Lafourche parishes. Crews are beginning a systematic effort to repair any boom that has been damaged.

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.

July 3, 2010

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.

July 2, 2010

Admiral Allen Provides Operational 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 progress of the administration-wide response to the BP oil spill.

Skimming Capabilities Reach Fivefold Increase Since Early June
At the beginning of June, Admiral Allen announced efforts to bring more skimmers to respond to the BP oil spill. Since then, skimming capability in the Gulf has increased more than fivefold—from approximately 100 large skimmers to 550 skimming vessels of various sizes working to collect oil in all parts of the Gulf of Mexico as of today. To date, 28.2 million gallons of an oil-water mix has been skimmed from the Gulf surface.

The skimming surge has come throughout the month of June as an adaptation to the changing characteristics of the spill, which no longer presents itself as a single slick, but a massive collection of smaller patches of oil. Additional skimmers were needed and have been deployed to work those small patches at various depths and distances from the coast. The Unified Command will continue ramping up skimmer capability throughout the coming weeks, with a baseline target of more than 750 skimmers collecting oil in Gulf waters by mid July, and more by the beginning of August. The Joint Information Center has published a Fact Sheet summarizing the impact that skimmers have had on the response.

NOAA Models Long-Term Oil Threat to Gulf and East Coast Shoreline
As part of the ongoing effort to use the state-of-the-art technology and scientific tools in response to aid response operations, NOAA is using modeling of historical wind and ocean currents to project the likelihood that surface oil from the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill will impact additional U.S. coastline.

The modeling uses the high end of the flow rate estimate, and inputs the estimated amount of oil being skimmed, burned, and collected through the containment device—and accounts for the natural process of oil weathering.

Rear Admiral Zukunft Provides Update on Weather Impacts
Rear Admiral Paul Zukunft provided a briefing to inform Gulf Coast residents and answer questions about the impact weather is having on the ongoing response to the BP oil spill. Because of elevated sea states, no skimming or burning has been conducted for two days. In addition, the weather displaced boom and made it unsafe to fly. Crews are standing by to resume skimming operations and survey inland waterways that may have seen impacts due to a storm surge. Shoreline cleanup operations continue with limited weather interruption.

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, is connected to the floating riser pipe—a redundancy measure also taken at the administration’s direction.

July 1, 2010

The President Receives a Briefing From Senior Officials on the BP Oil Spill Response
President Obama and Vice President Biden received a briefing today from National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change Carol Browner, and other senior administration officials on the BP oil spill.

Secretary Napolitano and Admiral Allen provided a situational update and an overview of available resources responding to the crises. The administration’s science team provided an update on oil containment efforts and plans to increase the capacity to capture more oil and eventually kill the well. The briefing also covered hurricane projections and their potential impacts on the response, the ongoing efforts to ensure seafood safety and the use of dispersants, and environmental impacts on wildlife, National Parks and other sensitive coastal shorelines and habitat.

Admiral Allen and Robert Gibbs Provide Operational Update on the BP Oil Spill Response
National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen joined White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs at his daily briefing to inform the American public and answer questions on the progress of the administration-wide response to the BP oil spill.

The Coast Guard and EPA Send a Directive to BP on Oil Spill Waste Management
The Coast Guard and the EPA issued a directive to BP on how the company should manage recovered oil, contaminated materials and liquid and solid wastes recovered in cleanup operations from the BP oil spill—a measure taken in consultation with the states to hold BP accountable for the implementation of the approved waste management plans. Under the directive, EPA will begin sampling the waste, in addition to sampling already being done by BP, to help verify that the waste is being properly managed.

Mobile and Florida Incident Commands Provide Local Operational Updates
Coast Guard Commander Joe Boudrow, Deputy Incident Commander for Florida, and Coast Guard Commander Charles Diorio of the Mobile Incident Command provided a briefing to inform local residents and answer questions about the ongoing response to the BP oil spill.

Boudrow and Diorio reported on the impact of weather on operations (elevated sea states have halted offshore skimming efforts in recent days); provided specifics on the amount of skimmers, boom and other resources deployed in their respective regions; and explained the various shoreline cleanup tactics that are used for different types of oil impacts. They also discussed oversight efforts to ensure that BP is giving local residents first priority when hiring for the Vessels of Opportunity program.

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, is connected to the floating riser pipe—a redundancy measure also taken at the administration’s direction.

Progress Continues in Drilling Relief Wells; Ranging Process Continues
The Development Driller III has drilled the first relief well to a depth of approximately 17,000 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 12,500 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.

June 30, 2010

The President Outlines Long-Term Coordination Plan for Gulf Coast Restoration
President Obama sent a memorandum to the heads of Executive Departments and Agencies regarding the Long-Term Gulf Coast Restoration Support Plan—outlining ways in which Navy Secretary Ray Mabus will coordinate with leaders across the administration and the White House, along with states, local communities, tribes, people whose livelihoods depend on the Gulf, businesses, conservationists, scientists and others to create a plan of federal support for the long-term economic and environmental restoration of the Gulf Coast region. The memorandum is available here.

Senior Administration Officials and Scientists Meet With BP on Oil Containment Efforts
As part of ongoing efforts to engage the brightest minds from across the federal government, academia and the private sector in the response to the BP oil spill, senior administration officials including Secretary Salazar, Secretary Chu, Secretary Napolitano, Carol Browner and Admiral Thad Allen, met with members of the federal science team and BP officials to discuss the progress of additional well containment options and the status of relief well drilling efforts. The meeting was held at the Department of the Interior. Senior government officials will meet with President Obama tomorrow to review the oil spill situation and discuss plans moving forward.

Admiral Allen Provides Operational 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 progress of the administration-wide response to the BP oil spill.

Rear Admiral Zukunft Provides Update on the Effects of Current Weather
Coast Guard Rear Adm. Paul Zukunft provided an update on the effects of severe weather on response efforts. Because of elevated sea states, response crews have not been able to conduct skimming or controlled burn operations; increased wave heights have caused boom to break apart in some areas. Sea states have also delayed the connection of the third vessel, the Helix Producer, to the floating riser pipe—which will bring collection capacity up to 53,000 barrels a day. Storm surges could cause oil to be pushed further into inland areas. The Coast Guard is monitoring the flow of oil and is prepared to deploy additional resources if inland areas are impacted. Weather has not had any impact on the drilling of relief wells.

EPA Releases First Round of Toxicity Testing Data for Eight Oil Dispersants
The Environmental Protection Agency today released peer reviewed resultsfrom the first round of its own independent toxicity testing on eight oil dispersants. EPA conducted testing to ensure that decisions about ongoing dispersant use in the Gulf of Mexico continue to be grounded in the best available science. Additional testing is needed to further inform the use of dispersants.

NOAA Adds Two Ships to Fleet of Scientific Research Vessels
A NOAA research ship and a university-owned vessel are conducting two complementary studies to gather data on the Loop Current and area ecosystems in response to the BP oil spill. NOAA Ship Nancy Foster—one of six NOAA-owned ships supporting the oil spill response effort—began a two-week survey in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the Florida Straits.

The R/V Savannah, operated by the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography in Savannah, Ga., is sailing through the Florida Keys and western Florida shelf as part of a long-term bimonthly sampling effort for NOAA’s South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Program that has been modified to collect samples to check for the presence of oil in the region.

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 once the third vessel, the Helix Producer, is connected to the floating riser pipe—a redundancy measure also taken at the administration’s direction.
 
Progress Continues in Drilling Relief Wells; Ranging Process Continues
The Development Driller III has drilled the first relief well to a depth of approximately 16,900 feet below the 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 12,000 feet below the Gulf 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.

June 29, 2010

Vice President Biden Travels to Gulf Coast to Assess Response Efforts
Vice President Joe Biden visited New Orleans and Pensacola, Fla., to survey the response efforts, visit with Gulf Coast residents impacted by the spill, and meet with area officials.

Biden visited the Unified Area Command to receive a briefing on response efforts and tour the facility. He was joined by National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Federal On-Scene Coordinator Rear Admiral James Watson, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Congressman Anh “Joseph” Cao.

The Vice President also made a stop at Pomes Seafood, an eastern New Orleans seafood wholesaler, where he met with Gulf Coast residents impacted by the spill. Biden then traveled to Florida and visited the Naval Air Station Pensacola.

EPA Continues to Conduct Air, Water and Sediment Monitoring in the Gulf
The latest EPA air monitoring for ozone and airborne particulate matter, conducted through June 27, has found levels of ozone and particulates ranging from the "good" to "unhealthy for sensitive groups" levels on EPA's Air Quality Index. People with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion.

Federal and Local Officials Hold Joint Open House Meeting in Iberia Parish
As part of continued efforts to inform Louisiana residents on the BP oil spill response and available assistance, representatives from the Coast Guard, Fish and Wildlife Service, EPA, and state and local governments held their sixth joint open house meeting in Iberia Parish in New Iberia, La.

Experts from the various agencies participating in the BP oil spill response were on hand to discuss a variety of topics with Parish residents—including the claims process, volunteer and contracting opportunities, environmental quality, worker safety and the various tools, equipment and strategies being used in the response. Previous meetings were held in Cameron Parish, St. Bernard Parish, Jefferson Parish, St. Mary’s Parish and Orleans Parish.

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 once the third vessel, the Helix Producer, arrives on scene—a redundancy measure also taken under the direction of the federal government.
 
Progress Continues in Drilling Relief Wells; Ranging Process Continues
The Development Driller III continues to drill the first relief well to a depth of approximately 16,900 feet. 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 12,000 feet below the Gulf 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.

June 28, 2010

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. BP has finished installing the first free standing riser, which has greater survivability than a fixed riser and will be connected to a third vessel, the Helix Producer—a redundancy measure also taken under the direction of the federal government.
 
Progress Continues in Drilling Relief Wells; Ranging Process Continues
The Development Driller III continues to drill the first relief well to a depth of approximately 16,545 feet. 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 12,000 feet below the Gulf 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.

NOAA-Supported Scientists Predict Increase in Area Containing Depleted Oxygen Levels
While it is unclear what impact, if any, will be linked to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, a team of NOAA-supported scientists from the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, Louisiana State University, and the University of Michigan, predict that the northern Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone, an underwater area with little or no oxygen known commonly as the “dead zone,” could be larger than the recent average by 500-1,800 square miles.

This forecast is based on Mississippi River nutrient flows compiled annually by the U.S. Geological Survey. Dead zones off the coast of Louisiana and Texas are caused by nutrient runoff, principally from agricultural activity, which stimulates an overgrowth of algae that sinks, decomposes, and consumes most of the life-giving oxygen supply in the water. The federal government continues to engage the best scientific minds available to monitor the impacts of the BP oil spill on all aspects of the environment, including oxygen levels in the water column.

NOAA Expands Fishing Restriction in the Gulf; More than 66 Percent Remains Open
As part of continued efforts to ensure the safety of seafood from the Gulf of Mexico and protect consumers, NOAA has expanded the closed fishing area in the Gulf of Mexico to include portions of the oil slick moving beyond the area’s current northern boundary, off the Florida panhandle’s federal-state waterline. This boundary was moved eastward to Cape San Blas. The closed area now represents 80,228 square miles—approximately 33.2 percent—of federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico. This closure does not apply to any state waters. This leaves more than 66 percent of Gulf federal waters available for fishing. Details can be found at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/.

June 27, 2010 7 PM

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. BP has finished installing the first free standing riser, which has greater survivability than a fixed riser and will be connected to a third vessel arriving at the site of the wellbore next week, the Helix Producer—a redundancy measure also taken under the direction of the federal government.
 
Progress Continues in Drilling Relief Wells; Ranging Process Continues
The Development Driller III continues to drill the first relief well to a depth of approximately 16,400 feet (11,100 feet below the sea floor). 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 12,000 feet below the Gulf 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.

June 26, 2010 

Admiral Allen Provides Operational 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 progress of the administration-wide response to the BP oil spill. He addressed the ongoing coordination with NOAA’s National Weather Service to monitor and track Tropical Storm Alex and the potential for other storms—reiterating the contingency plans in the event that a hurricane or tropical storm approaches the vicinity of the wellbore and the threshold of gale force winds that would require an evacuation of response personnel and equipment.

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. BP has finished installing the first free standing riser, which has greater survivability than a fixed riser and will be connected to a third vessel arriving at the site of the wellbore next week, the Helix Producer—a redundancy measure also taken under the direction of the federal government.

Progress Continues in Drilling Relief Wells; Ranging Process Continues
The Development Driller III continues to drill the first relief well to a depth of approximately 16,400 feet (11,100 feet below the sea floor), and crews have begun the process of cementing and casing the well liner. The Development Driller II has drilled the second relief well—a redundancy measure taken at the direction of the administration—to a depth of approximately 11,800 feet (6,500 feet below the sea floor).

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.

June 25, 2010:

Admiral Allen Provides Operational 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 progress of the administration-wide response to the BP oil spill. He addressed contingency plans that would be implemented in the event of a hurricane or tropical storm entering the Gulf of Mexico—and the threshold of gale force winds that would require the responding vessels in the vicinity of the Deepwater Horizon drilling site to be evacuated.

Fifth NOAA Ship Adds to Ongoing Research Efforts in the Gulf Coast
NOAA Ship Delaware II departed Key West, Fla., to collect tunas, swordfish and sharks and compile data about the conditions these highly migratory species are experiencing in the Gulf of Mexico. During its two-week mission, the research vessel will use longline fishing gear to capture the fish, and assess their environment using sophisticated water chemistry monitoring instruments.

Two other NOAA ships—Pisces, one of NOAA’s newest research vessels, and the ship Oregon II—are in the midst of surveys of reef fish, bottom-dwelling fish, and shrimp in the eastern and western Gulf of Mexico to sample for seafood and water quality and species abundance as part of the oil spill response. A complete list of vessels involved in NOAA’s ongoing efforts to engage the best scientific minds to monitor water quality and ensure the health and safety of seafood is available on their website.

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, despite a temporary interruption earlier this week. In addition to the oil collection aboard the Discoverer Enterprise, which is linked by the riser pipe to the wellhead, and the Q4000, which continues to flare off additional oil and gas being brought up through the choke line, collection capacity is expected to increase when a third vessel arrives next week and is attached to the kill line.

Progress Continues in Drilling Relief Wells
The Development Driller III continues to drill the first relief well to a depth of approximately 16,200 feet (11,000 feet below the sea floor), and crews have begun the process of cementing and casing the well liner. The Development Driller II has drilled the second relief well—a redundancy measure taken at the direction of the administration—to a depth of approximately 11,800 feet (6,500 feet below the sea floor).
BP has started 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.

June 24, 2010:

Carol Browner Meets with Top BP Officials
Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change Carol Browner today met with BP executives Bob Dudley, Lamar McKay, David Nagel and Karen St. John to discuss a number of key issues, including containment, redundancy, the claims process and scientific monitoring. Dudley recently assumed the lead role for BP in the Gulf restoration.

Browner reiterated the President’s commitment to the people of the Gulf—that the administration will not rest or be satisfied until the leak is stopped at the source, the oil in the Gulf is contained and cleaned up, and the people of the Gulf are able to go back to their lives and their livelihoods—and reminded them that their work and response will be based on that bar.

Containment Cap Operations Resume; Preparations are Made for Third Vessel
Yesterday, as a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of operations, the use of the lower marine riser package (LMRP) containment cap was temporarily suspended when a discharge of liquids was observed. Upon completion of the inspection, the LMRP was reconnected to the Discoverer Enterprise around 8 p.m. last night and resumed operations this morning.

The capture of oil and gas through the blowout preventer’s choke line to the Q4000 vessel on the surface has continued without interruption.

The first of four free-standing risers has been installed and is being tested. The vessel Helix Producer, which is expected to be operational by late June, will be used to produce oil and gas through the first free-standing riser.

June 23, 2010:

Admiral Allen Provides Operational 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 progress of the administration-wide response to the BP oil spill.

Allen was joined by Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Jordan Barab, who discussed his agency’s efforts to protect the health and safety of workers participating in the response. OSHA has more than 150 personnel in the Gulf to monitor worker safety and health and inform workers on how to best protect themselves—which includes distributing educational materials in English, Spanish and Vietnamese.

Containment Cap Operations Suspended; Severe Weather Impacting Today’s Cleanup
While the capture of oil and gas through the blowout preventer’s choke line to the Q4000 vessel on the surface continues, the use of the lower marine riser package (LMRP) containment cap was temporarily suspended today when a discharge of liquids was observed from a diverter valve on the drill ship Discoverer Enterprise. As a precautionary measure, the LMRP containment cap system, which is attached to the Discover Enterprise, was removed to ensure the safety of operations and allow the unexpected release of liquids to be analyzed.

Severe weather conditions across southeast Louisiana also impacted some of the regularly scheduled cleanup and response efforts in the area. Safety of all personnel is vital to the success of this operation, and crews will resume cleanup operations as soon as possible.

Prior to the suspension, the Discoverer Enterprise and the Q4000 recovered more than 27,000 barrels of oil in the most recent 24-hour period—the largest daily collection amount to date.

Administration Releases its First Scientific Report on Subsea Monitoring Data
NOAA, EPA and White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) today released the first peer reviewed, analytical summary report   about the subsea monitoring in the vicinity of the Deepwater Horizon wellhead—which contains analysis of samples taken by the R/V Brooks McCall, a research vessel conducting water sampling from half a mile to nine miles of the wellhead—part of continued efforts to engage the brightest scientific minds to confront the worst environmental disaster the country has ever faced.

The report comes from the Joint Analysis Group (JAG), which was established to facilitate cooperation and coordination among the best scientific minds across the government and provide a coordinated analysis of information related to subsea monitoring in the Gulf of Mexico. This comprehensive analysis helps define the characteristics of the water and presence of oil below the surface in the area close to the wellhead from May 8-25.

Federal and Local Officials Hold Joint Open House Meeting in Orleans Parish
As part of continued efforts to inform Louisiana residents on the BP oil spill response and available assistance, representatives from the Coast Guard, Fish and Wildlife Service, EPA, and state and local governments held their fifth joint open house meeting in Orleans Parish.

Experts from the various agencies participating in the BP oil spill response were on hand to discuss a variety of topics with Parish residents—including the claims process, volunteer and contracting opportunities, environmental quality, worker safety and the various tools, equipment and strategies being used in the response. Previous meetings were held in Cameron Parish, St. Bernard Parish, Jefferson Parish and St. Mary’s Parish.

Oil Removed from Water by Controlled Burn Operations Surpasses 10 Million Gallons
As part of a coordinated response that combines tactics deployed above water, below water, offshore, and close to coastal areas, controlled burns efficiently remove oil from the open water in an effort to protect shoreline and wildlife. In total, 275 burns have been conducted to remove more than 10 million gallons of oil from the water.

NOAA Opens More Than 8,000 Square Miles of Fishing Closed Area in the Gulf of Mexico
NOAA has opened more than 8,000 square miles of previously closed fishing area in the Gulf of Mexico, because the agency has not observed oil in the area. The most significant opening is an area due south of Mississippi. Additionally, some smaller areas were opened off the Louisiana and central Florida coasts. These areas were initially closed as a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of seafood from the Gulf because oil was projected to be within those areas.

The closed area now represents 78,597 square miles—approximately 32.5 percent—of federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico. This closure does not apply to any state waters. This leaves more than 67 percent of Gulf federal waters available for fishing. Details can be found at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/.

June 22, 2010:

President Obama Discusses Oil Spill Response with Cabinet Officials
At a Cabinet meeting held today at the White House, President Obama met with senior administration officials to discuss a range of topics—including the ongoing federal response to one of the worst natural disasters in the nation’s history.

In remarks following the meeting, the President highlighted the work of Ken Feinberg—the newly-appointed administrator of the $20 billion escrow account announced last week, who has traveled to the Gulf to meet with governors and local officials—and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who briefed the President on the operations to protect the shoreline, including skimming and controlled burns.

Admiral Allen Provides Operational 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 progress of the administration-wide response to the BP oil spill.

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.

In addition to the oil collection aboard the Discoverer Enterprise, which is linked by the riser pipe to the wellhead, and the Q4000, which continues to flare off additional oil and gas being brought up through the choke lines—a method that was also put in place at the government’s direction.

Under the direction of the National Incident Commander, BP is making preparations to bring a third vessel to the vicinity of the leaking well in order to increase collection capacity.

Successful Controlled Burn
In recent days, favorable weather conditions have allowed responders to conduct successful controlled burn operations. As part of a coordinated response that combines tactics deployed above water, below water, offshore, and close to coastal areas, controlled burns efficiently remove oil from the open water in an effort to protect shoreline and wildlife. In total, 275 burns have been conducted to remove more than 9.32 million gallons of oil from the water.

June 21, 2010: 

Admiral Allen Provides Operational 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 progress of the administration-wide response to the BP oil spill.

Administration Sends Third Bill to BP for $51.4 Million
The Obama Administration today sent a third bill for $51.4 million to BP and other responsible parties. As a responsible party, BP is financially responsible for all costs associated with the response to the spill, including efforts to stop the leak at its source, reduce the spread of oil, protect the shoreline and mitigate damages, as well as long term recovery efforts to ensure that all individuals and communities impacted by the spill are made whole.

In order to provide full transparency of the ongoing efforts and to ensure that the American public is not held accountable for the costs of response and recovery activities, the federal government bills BP and the other responsible parties regularly. BP and other responsible parties have paid the first two bills in full—totaling $70.89 million.

Federal and Local Officials Hold Open House Meeting for Louisiana Residents
As part of continued efforts to inform Louisiana residents on the BP oil spill response and available assistance, representatives from the Coast Guard, Fish and Wildlife Service, EPA and state and local governments today held their fourth open house meeting in Jefferson Parish.
Experts from the various agencies participating in the BP oil spill response were on hand to discuss a variety of topics with Parish residents—including the claims process, volunteer and contracting opportunities, environmental quality, worker safety and the various tools, equipment and strategies being used in the response. Previous meetings were held in Cameron Parish, St. Bernard Parish, and St. Mary’s Parish.

NOAA Expands Fishing Restriction in the Gulf; More than 64 Percent Remains Open
As part of continued efforts to ensure the safety of seafood from the Gulf of Mexico and protect consumers, NOAA has expanded the closed fishing area in the Gulf of Mexico to capture portions of the oil slick moving beyond the current boundaries off the Florida panhandle and due south of Mississippi. The closed area now represents 86,985 square miles—approximately 36 percent—of federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico. This closure does not apply to any state waters. This leaves more than 64 percent of Gulf federal waters available for fishing. Details can be found at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/.

Successful Controlled Burn
In recent days, favorable weather conditions have allowed responders to conduct successful controlled burn operations. As part of a coordinated response that combines tactics deployed above water, below water, offshore, and close to coastal areas, controlled burns efficiently remove oil from the open water in an effort to protect shoreline and wildlife. In total, 255 burns have been conducted to remove more than 6.3 million gallons of oil from the water.

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.
 
In addition to the Discoverer Enterprise, which is linked by the riser pipe to the wellhead, and the Q4000, which continues to flare off additional oil and gas being brought up through the choke lines—a method that was also put in place at the government’s direction.

June 20, 2010: 

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.
 
In addition to the Discoverer Enterprise, which is linked by the riser pipe to the wellhead, a second recovery vessel, the Q4000, continues to flare off additional oil and gas being brought up through the choke and kill lines—a method that was also put in place at the government’s direction.

Progress Continues in Drilling Relief Wells
The Development Driller III continues to drill the first relief well to a depth of approximately 11,000 feet below the sea floor, and crews have begun the process of cementing and casing the well liner. The Development Driller II has drilled the second relief well—a redundancy measure taken at the direction of the administration—to a depth of approximately 5,000 feet below the sea floor.

EPA Continues to Conduct Air, Water and Sediment Monitoring in the Gulf
EPA is conducting additional air monitoring for ozone and airborne particulate matter. The air monitoring conducted through June 18 has found levels of ozone and particulates ranging from the "good" to "unhealthy for sensitive groups" levels on EPA’s Air Quality Index.

EPA's analysis of surface water along the Gulf coast found elevated levels of nickel above benchmark levels for aquatic life in samples collected on June 11-13, 2010. This might affect fish and shellfish exposed for an extended period.

Successful Controlled Burn
In recent days, favorable weather conditions have allowed responders to conduct successful controlled burn operations. As part of a coordinated response that combines tactics deployed above water, below water, offshore, and close to coastal areas, controlled burns efficiently remove oil from the open water in an effort to protect shoreline and wildlife. In total, 250 burns have been conducted to remove more than 6.3 million gallons of oil from the water.

June 19, 2010:

BP Continues to Optimize Oil Recovery Rates from its Leaking Well
BP continues to capture some oil and burn gas at the surface using its containment dome technique, which is being executed under the federal government’s direction.

In addition to the Discoverer Enterprise, which is linked by the riser pipe to the wellhead, a second recovery vessel, the Q4000, continues to flare off additional oil and gas being brought up through the choke and kill lines—a method that was also put in place at the government’s direction.

Progress Continues in Drilling Relief Wells
The Development Driller III continues to drill the first relief well to a depth of approximately 11,000 feet below the sea floor, and crews have begun the process of cementing and casing the well liner. The Development Driller II has drilled the second relief well—a redundancy measure taken at the direction of the administration—to a depth of approximately 5,000 feet below the sea floor.

EPA Continues to Conduct Air, Water and Sediment Monitoring in the Gulf
EPA is conducting additional air monitoring for ozone and airborne particulate matter. The air monitoring conducted through June 17 has found levels of ozone and particulates ranging from the "good" to "unhealthy for sensitive groups" levels on EPA’s Air Quality Index.

EPA’s recent surface water results collected along the Gulf Coast have found the combination of oil related organic compounds to exceed chronic aquatic life benchmarks. These are levels that could impact the health, growth or reproductive activity of aquatic life if exposed for an extended period of time.

June 18, 2010:

Admiral Allen Provides Operational Update on the BP Oil Spill Response
National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen provided a briefing from the Unified Area Command in New Orleans to inform the American public and answer questions on the progress of the administration-wide response to the BP oil spill.

BP Continues to Optimize Oil Recovery Rates from its Leaking Well
BP continues to increase the amount of captured oil and burn more gas at the surface using its containment dome technique, which is being executed under the federal government’s direction.
In addition to the Discoverer Enterprise, which is linked by the riser pipe to the wellhead, a second recovery vessel, the Q4000, continues to flare off additional oil and gas being brought up through the choke and kill lines—a method that was also put in place at the government’s direction. Nearly 30,000 barrels were recovered in the most recent 24-hour period.

Progress Continues in Drilling Relief Wells
The Development Driller III continues to drill the first relief well to a depth of more than 10,600 feet below the sea floor. The Development Driller II has drilled the second relief well—a redundancy measure taken at the direction of the federal government—to a depth of more than 4,600 feet below the sea floor.

Successful Controlled Burn
In recent days, favorable weather conditions have allowed responders to conduct successful controlled burn operations. As part of a coordinated response that combines tactics deployed above water, below water, offshore, and close to coastal areas, controlled burns efficiently remove oil from the open water in an effort to protect shoreline and wildlife. In total, more than 225 burns have been conducted to remove more than five million gallons of oil from the water.

June 17, 2010:

Admiral Allen Provides Operational Update on the BP Oil Spill Response
National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen provided a briefing by teleconference to inform the American public and answer questions on the progress of the administration-wide response to the BP oil spill.

Later in the day in Port Sulphur, La., Admiral Allen provided a second briefing after returning from an airboat tour of Barataria Bay.

Federal and Local Officials Hold Third Open House Meeting for Louisiana Residents
Representatives from the Coast Guard, Fish and Wildlife Service, the Environmental Protection Agency and state and local governments held the third in a series of open house meetings for Louisiana residents in St. Mary’s Parish—providing an opportunity for those affected by the BP oil spill to engage one-on-one with experts to discuss a variety of topics, including the claims process, volunteer and contracting opportunities, environmental quality, worker safety and the various tools, equipment and strategies being used in the response. Two additional meetings were held this week in Cameron Parish and St. Bernard Parish.

EPA Hosts Conference Call on Air Quality with Gulf Coast Stakeholders
EPA officials hosted a conference call today with community and environmental groups in Louisiana to discuss the short- and long-term effects of the BP oil spill on air quality in the Gulf.
EPA continues to monitor air, water and sediment quality in the region. According to the most recent data, air quality levels for ozone and particulates are normal on the Gulf coastline for this time of year. The most recent water and sediment samples did not reveal elevated levels for chemicals that are usually found in oil.

EPA has observed odor-causing pollutants associated with petroleum products along the coastline at low levels. Some of these chemicals may cause short-lived effects like headache, eye, nose and throat irritation, or nausea. People may be able to smell some of these chemicals at levels well below those that would cause short-term health problems. Anyone experiencing these and other symptoms should call the Medical Support Hotline at (888) 623-0287.

BP Continues to Capture Some Oil and Gas Using Containment Device
BP continues to capture some oil and burn some gas at the surface using its containment dome technique, which is being executed under the federal government’s direction. After cutting off a portion of the riser, BP placed a containment device over it in order to capture oil at its source.

June 16, 2010:

President Obama and Top Administration Officials Hold Meeting with BP at White House
President Obama and top administration officials today met with BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg, CEO Tony Hayward and other top BP officials in the Roosevelt Room at the White House. They discussed the ongoing efforts to stop the oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico and BP’s responsibility not only to pay for the cost of the cleanup of the oil spill, but also to compensate residents and businesses that have suffered financially as a result of the oil spill.

In remarks after the meeting, the President announced that BP has agreed to set aside $20 billion in an escrow account to pay economic damage claims to people and businesses that have been affected by the oil spill, and that BP and the Administration agreed to appoint Ken Feinberg, who administered the claims process for victims of 9/11, to run the independent claims process.

President Obama Sends Letter to Congress on Budget Amendment for BP Oil Spill Commission
In a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, President Obama requested that Congress consider a budget amendment proposal for Fiscal Year 2011—for the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, which the President established by Executive Order to provide for a comprehensive look at how the oil and gas industry operates and how it is regulated.

Admiral Allen, Press Secretary Gibbs and Assistant to the President Carol Browner Hold Briefing at White House
National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and Carol Browner, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, provided a briefing at the White House to inform the American public and answer questions on the progress of the administration-wide response to the BP oil spill. 

NOAA Expands Fishing Closed Area in Gulf of Mexico; More than Sixty-Six Percent of Gulf Federal Waters Remain Open
As part of continued efforts to ensure the safety of seafood from the Gulf of Mexico and protect consumers, NOAA has expanded the closed fishing area to capture portions of the oil slick moving beyond the area’s current northern boundary, off the Florida panhandle’s federal-state waterline. This boundary was moved just to the west of St. Joe Bay and Panama City Beach.
The closed area now represents 80,806 square miles—approximately 33.4 percent—of federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico—this closure does not apply to any state waters. This leaves more than 66 percent of Gulf federal waters available for fishing. Details can be found at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/.

Federal and Local Officials Hold Open House Meetings for Louisiana Residents
Representatives from the Coast Guard, Fish and Wildlife Service, EPA and other state and local partner agencies participating in the ongoing response effort to the BP oil spill today held the second in a series of open house meetings in Louisiana in Cameron Parish. The meetings are an opportunity for local residents to meet with experts and hear firsthand about the claims process, volunteer and contracting opportunities, environmental quality, worker safety and the various tools, equipment and strategies being used in the response. The first meeting was held yesterday in St. Bernard Parish, and a third is scheduled tomorrow in St. Mary’s Parish. Details can be found at http://www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com/go/doc/2931/654315/.

BP Continues to Capture Some Oil and Gas Using Containment Device
BP continues to capture some oil and burn some gas at the surface using its containment dome technique, which is being executed under the federal government’s direction. After cutting off a portion of the riser, BP placed a containment device over it in order to capture oil at its source.

Progress Continues in Drilling Relief Wells
The Development Driller III continues to drill the first relief well to a depth of more than 15,000 feet—11 days ahead of schedule—and is beginning to angle the well at 23 degrees. The Development Driller II has drilled the second relief well to a depth of 9,774 feet.

Successful Controlled Burn
In recent days, favorable weather conditions have allowed responders to conduct successful controlled burn operations. As part of a coordinated response that combines tactics deployed above water, below water, offshore, and close to coastal areas, controlled burns efficiently remove oil from the open water in an effort to protect shoreline and wildlife. In total, more than 210 burns have been conducted to remove a total of 5.2 million gallons of oil from the water to date.

June 15, 2010:

The President Addresses the American People on the Ongoing Historic Response
In his first Oval Office address of his presidency, President Obama outlined his commitment to fighting the full impacts of the BP oil spill with everything we’ve got for as long as it takes.

Response to the Oil Spill
The President outlined the strength of the largest environmental cleanup effort in American history to confront what is the worst environmental disaster America has ever faced. From day one, the Obama Administration has been committed to containing the damage from the BP oil spill and extending to the people of the Gulf the help they need to confront what is the worst environmental disaster America has ever faced. And we will continue to fight this spill with everything we’ve got for as long as it takes. We will make BP pay for the damage that their company has caused our country. And we will do whatever’s necessary to help the Gulf Coast and its people recover from this tragedy.

Recovery and Restoration
The President announced that Navy Secretary Ray Mabus will develop a long-term Gulf Coast Restoration Plan—designed by states, local communities, tribes, fishermen, businesses, conservationists, and other Gulf residents. The administration continues to work with the affected states to implement creative approaches to their unique coastlines, and will offer whatever additional resources and assistance they may need.

The President is meeting tomorrow with the chairman of BP and will inform him that he is to set aside whatever resources are required to compensate the workers and business owners who have been harmed as a result of his company’s recklessness. This fund will not be controlled by BP, but instead by an independent third party in order to ensure all legitimate claims are paid out in a fair and timely manner.

Preventing Future Disasters
The President laid out the steps the administration is taking to ensure a disaster like this does not happen again—including the establishment of a National Commission to understand the causes of this disaster and offer recommendations on what additional safety and environmental standards need to be put in place; and tough reforms to ensure more effective oversight and end the close relationship between oil companies and the agency that regulates them.

Our Country’s Energy Future
The President stressed the need for urgent action to move forward with innovative energy policies that will ensure the end of America’s reliance on fossil fuels and a clean energy future. This Administration has taken unprecedented action to jumpstart the clean energy industry, and the President emphasized the need to match these actions by a comprehensive plan that transitions the United States to a 21st-century clean-energy economy—and committed to working with partners of both parties in Congress to get it done.

The President Announces His Selection to Fix Oil Industry Oversight
The President today announced his selection of former Assistant U.S. Attorney and Justice Department Inspector General Michael R. Bromwich to lead the administration’s efforts to accelerate reforms in the regulation and oversight of offshore oil drilling. Bromwich will oversee reforms of the Minerals Management Service, restoring integrity and rigor to the relationship between federal regulatory officials and oil companies.

President Obama Wraps Up His Fourth Trip to Gulf Coast
Continuing his fourth trip to the Gulf Coast, President Obama spent the morning in Florida, where he received a briefing from National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen and met with local officials to discuss efforts to fight the BP oil spill on Pensacola Beach.

Before returning to Washington, the President delivered remarks at an event with military personnel at the Naval Air Station Pensacola’s Naval Air Technical Training Center—discussing the overall response and the vital contributions of America’s military forces.

NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson Returns to Sea for Second Research Mission
Building upon research from its first mission and research from the NOAA Ship Gordon Gunter, the 208-foot Thomas Jefferson today departed Galveston, Texas, to continue research on the BP oil spill’s impact on the Gulf of Mexico. During the three-week mission, the research vessel will collect air samples in the areas around the well head and use sophisticated acoustic and water chemistry monitoring instruments to detect and map submerged oil.

NOAA and Coast Guard Seize Shrimp Taken from Closed Fishing Area in Gulf
As part of continued efforts to ensure the safety of seafood from the Gulf of Mexico and protect consumers, NOAA and the Coast Guard today announced that approximately 19,000 pounds of shrimp caught in a closed fishing area 13 miles south of Belle Pass, La., was seized over the weekend as a result of a tip received on the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement Hotline.

To date, 78,264 square miles—approximately 32 percent—of federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico have been closed to commercial and recreational fishing as a precautionary measure to ensure that seafood from the Gulf remains safe for consumers. The closed area does not apply to any state waters. Details can be found at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/. Fisherman and consumers are encouraged to report potential seafood safety issues to (888) INFO-FDA.

EPA Holds Stakeholder Call on Environmental Justice Issues Related to BP Spill
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson joined other top EPA officials to participate in the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) public teleconference meeting to discuss the agency’s preparedness and response to the BP oil spill. NEJAC is EPA's independent advisory committee on environmental issues affecting underrepresented groups—with representatives from community, academia, industry, environmental, indigenous, as well as state, local, and tribal government groups—who meet to discuss how to define and find solutions to environmental justice problems

EPA Continues to Monitor Air, Water and Sediment Quality in the Gulf
According to the most recent sample data, the Environmental Protection Agency found elevated levels of nickel above benchmark levels for aquatic life. This might affect fish and shellfish exposed for an extended period. It is unlikely that the contamination resulted from the BP Spill.
The most recent sediment samples indicate that there may be risks to aquatic life from pollutants in sediment at some locations. It is unknown whether the sediment contamination resulted from the BP Spill or was already present. For more information, visit www.epa.gov/bpspill/.

U.S. Scientific Team Draws on New Data, Multiple Scientific Methodologies to Reach Updated Estimate of Oil Flows from BP’s Well
Based on updated information and scientific assessments, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, and Chair of the National Incident Command’s Flow Rate Technical Group (FRTG) Dr. Marcia McNutt (Director of the U.S. Geological Survey) announced an improved estimate of how much oil is flowing from the leaking BP well. 

Secretary Chu, Secretary Salazar, and Dr. McNutt convened a group of federal and independent scientists on Monday to discuss new analyses and data points obtained over the weekend to produce updated flow rate estimates. Working together, U.S. government and independent scientists estimate that the most likely flow rate of oil today is between 35,000 and 60,000 barrels per day. The improved estimate is based on more and better data that is now available and that helps increase the scientific confidence in the accuracy of the estimate.

At the Government’s Direction, BP Makes Progress in Expanding Containment Capacity
Under the federal government’s direction, BP is implementing multiple strategies to significantly expand the leak containment capabilities at the sea floor even beyond the upper level of the improved flow rate estimate. The Lower Marine Riser Package cap that is currently in place can capture up to 18,000 barrels of oil per day. BP is deploying a second containment option, called the Q4000, which could expand total leak containment capacity to 20,000-28,000 barrels per day. Overall, the leak containment strategy that BP was required by the federal government to develop projects an expanded containment capacity to 40,000-53,000 barrels per day by the end of June and 60,000-80,000 barrels per day by mid-July.

Admiral Allen Ensures Expedited Jones Act Waiver Processing Should It Be Needed
Admiral Allen announced the development of specific guidance to ensure accelerated processing of requests for Jones Act waivers should they be received as a part of the BP oil spill response. Currently, 15 foreign-flagged vessels are involved in cleanup efforts. No Jones Act waivers have been granted because none of these vessels have required such a waiver to conduct their operations in the Gulf of Mexico.

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 Canada, Germany, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization and the European Union’s Monitoring and Information Centre.

Administration Convenes Oil Industry Executives to Assist Response Efforts
At the direction of the President, Secretary Salazar and Secretary Chu convened a meeting with oil industry executives to review BP’s updated containment plans and identify additional resources that could be brought to bear to build upon what is already the largest cleanup effort in the nation’s history. While the companies have already offered and provided expertise and resources, the meeting was an opportunity to update those efforts based on the expanded and accelerated containment plan that the government recently directed BP to develop.

Admiral Allen Establishes Officials to Lead Response for Alabama, Mississippi and Florida
At the authorization of the President and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen has directed the establishment of three Deputy Incident Commanders to lead oil impact mitigation and cleanup efforts in Alabama, Mississippi and Florida.  
                                            
These officials will serve under the Mobile, Ala., Incident Command Post, which reports to the Unified Area Command based in Louisiana. Placing these Deputy Incident Commanders across affected Gulf Coast states will further increase the administration’s capabilities to coordinate closely with local governments and meet the needs of individual communities

June 14, 2010:

President Obama Visits Alabama, Florida and Mississippi
In a visit that encompassed three states—Alabama, Florida and Mississippi—the President made his fourth trip to the Gulf Coast to assess the ongoing efforts to counter the BP oil spill.

The President met with officials directing the response effort and local residents and business people affected by the spill; observed shoreline impacts firsthand on a boat tour; and visited a response staging facility in Theodore, Ala.—where he reiterated his administration’s commitment to a strong, sustained response to one of the worst environmental disasters in our nation’s history.

In his remarks, the President conceded that he could not promise that the oil would be cleaned up overnight, adding: “But I promise you this: that things are going to return to normal. This region that’s known a lot of hardship will bounce back—just like it’s bounced back before. We are going to do everything we can, 24/7, to make sure that communities get back on their feet. And in the end, I am confident that we’re going to be able to leave the Gulf Coast in better shape than it was before.”
 
The President Announces Members of His Commission to Ensure Safety and Responsibility in Oil and Gas Development
The President announced members of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling—Frances G. Beinecke, President of the Natural Resources Defense Council; Donald Boesch, President of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science; Terry D. Garcia, Executive Vice President for Mission Programs for the National Geographic Society; Cherry A. Murray, Dean of the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; and Frances Ulmer, Chancellor of the University of Alaska Anchorage.

The bipartisan Commission, established through an Executive Order, is tasked with providing recommendations on how we can prevent—and mitigate the impact of—any future spills that result from offshore drilling. The Council is co-chaired by former two-term Florida Governor and former U.S. Senator Bob Graham and former Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency William K. Reilly.

Rear Admiral Watson Responds to BP’s Latest Containment Strategies
Federal On-Scene Coordinator Rear Admiral James Watson today responded to BP’s latest containment strategies (pdf) . On Friday, Watson sent a letter (pdf) to BP—directing the company to devise a more aggressive plan to build greater capacity and redundancy for oil containment.

After being directed to move more quickly, BP is now stepping up its efforts to contain the leaking oil. They have now outlined a path to contain the more than the full upper end of the current per-day flow estimate by the end of June using additional strategies that weren't contained in their original plan. Their revised plan also includes methods to achieve even greater redundancy beyond the month of June, to better allow for bad weather or unforeseen circumstances. We have continuously demanded strategies and responses from BP that fit the realities of this catastrophic event, for which they are responsible. The administration will continue to hold them accountable and bring every possible resource and innovation to bear.

Federal Agencies Introduce Online Mapping Tool to Track Gulf Response
The administration launched a new federal Web site, www.GeoPlatform.gov/gulfresponse/, designed to be a one-stop shop for detailed near-real-time information about the response to the BP oil spill and to facilitate communication and coordination among a variety of users—from federal, state and local responders to local community leaders and the public.

The site incorporates data from the various agencies that are working together to tackle the spill—including NOAA, the Coast Guard, Fish and Wildlife Service, EPA, NASA, USGS, DHS and Gulf states—into one customizable interactive map.

NOAA, FDA Continue Ramping Up Efforts to Ensure Safety of Gulf of Mexico Seafood
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Food and Drug Administration are taking additional steps to enhance inspection measures designed to ensure that seafood from the Gulf of Mexico is safe and free from contamination by oil—including precautionary closures, increased seafood testing inspections and a re-opening protocol once closed areas meet FDA standards for public health and wholesomeness.

The closed fisheries area now represents 78,264 square miles, which is approximately 32 percent of Gulf of Mexico federal waters. The closed area does not apply to any state waters. This leaves approximately 68 percent of Gulf federal waters available for fishing. Details can be found at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/. Fisherman and consumers are encouraged to report potential seafood safety issues to 1-888-INFO-FDA.

EPA Continues to Monitor Air, Water and Sediment Quality in the Gulf
According to the most recent data, the Environmental Protection Agency has found that air quality levels for ozone and particulates on the Gulf coastline are normal for this time of year.

EPA has observed odor-causing pollutants associated with petroleum products in the air along the coastline at low levels. Some of these chemicals may cause short-lived effects, such as headache, nausea or eye, nose and throat irritation. People may be able to smell some of these chemicals at levels well below those that would cause short-term health problems. Anyone experiencing these and other symptoms should call the Medical Support Line at (888) 623-0287.

EPA has deployed field teams to collect samples of oily debris, tar balls, mousse oil and other petroleum waste products that have washed up on the Gulf Coast shoreline. Preliminary results have shown chemical constituents that are usually found in petroleum products.

BP Continues to Capture Some Oil and Gas Using Containment Device
BP continues to capture some oil and burn some gas at the surface using its containment dome technique, which is being executed under the federal government’s direction. After cutting off a portion of the riser, BP placed a containment device over it in order to capture oil at its source.

June 13, 2010

Secretary Salazar Inspects Relief Well Drilling Operations
Continuing his ninth visit to the Gulf region, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar visited the Development Driller II, which, along with the Development Driller III, is making progress in drilling the dual relief wells to permanently stop the flow of leaking oil from BP’s deep underwater well. He was briefed by BP officials, as well as engineers directing and overseeing their work.

Skimmers are Surged to Gulf Areas Most At-Risk for Oil Impact
To facilitate the removal of heavy oil that has begun to come ashore in Orange Beach, Ala., Gulf State Park, Ala., and Bon Secour, Ala., the Unified Command has increased skimming and beach cleanup activities and is preparing to move to 24-hour cleanup and skimming operations. More than 400 skimmers are currently deployed to remove an oil-water mix from the Gulf—a more than 300 percent increase over recent days.

Area coastlines are being protected by both near-shore and offshore operations. Near-shore skimming vessels were moved from Panama City, Fla., to Pensacola, Fla. Skimming operations directed by ICP Mobile have collected more than 240,500 gallons of oil-water mix from the Gulf as far out as 50 miles.

New skimming equipment, including “Current Buster” skimming systems and a “Big Gulp” weir skimmer, is being deployed offshore. Current Busters can be towed at higher speeds than conventional boom and are ideally suited to high seas and ocean currents. The Big Gulp is a barge that has been converted into a large-capacity skimmer.

A task force, or group of vessels including skimmers, is working south of Gulf Shores, Ala., Perdido Pass, Fla., and Petit Bois Island, Miss., among other areas, to boom and skim oil. Night skimming operations will be pursued as weather permits.

NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson Returns from Science Mission; Will Redeploy Immediately
The 208-foot NOAA research vessel Thomas Jefferson arrived in Galveston, Texas, following completion a project to sample water and test advanced methods for detecting submerged oil while gathering oceanographic data in the area’s coastal waters. The ship is preparing for immediate redeployment on a second mission to start this week.
 
BP Continues to Capture Some Oil and Gas Using Containment Device
BP continues to capture some oil and burn some gas at the surface using its containment dome technique, which is being executed under the federal government’s direction. After cutting off a portion of the riser, BP placed a containment device over it in order to capture oil at its source.

June 12, 2010

President Obama’s Message to Gulf Coast: We Are With You
In an op-ed published in Gulf Coast newspapers, President Obama reiterated his administration’s commitment to a strong, sustained response to one of the worst environmental disasters in our nation’s history.

“I understand the frustration and anger that the people of the Gulf Coast are feeling. I share it. But instead of allowing feelings of anger and frustration to overwhelm our efforts, we must stay focused on the work at hand,” he wrote. “We owe it to the people of the Gulf to bring this ordeal to an end, and we owe it to the American people to make sure it never happens again.”

President Obama and British Prime Minister Cameron Discuss BP Oil Spill
In a telephone conversation, President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron discussed the impact of the tragic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, reiterating that BP must do all it can to respond effectively to the situation.

Rear Admiral Watson Directs BP to Devise a More Aggressive Containment Plan within 48 Hours
Federal On-Scene Coordinator Rear Admiral James A. Watson yesterday sent a second letter (pdf) to BP COO Doug Suttles—directing the company to devise a more aggressive to build greater capacity and redundancy for oil containment within 48 hours. The letter was in response to BP’s proposal (pdf), which Watson had directed BP to develop on June 8 (pdf)

Watson expressed concern that BP’s current plan does not have sufficient resources to “provide the needed collection capacity consistent with revised flow estimates” and “does not go far enough to mobilize redundant resources in the event of an equipment failure with one of the vessels or some other unforeseen problem.”

Under the federal government’s direction, BP engineers continue to refine plans for two more collection systems that will use connections on the blowout preventer capture more of the leaking oil in the near term. Gas and oil flow will be collected on the drill ships Q4000 and Clear Leader. Plans to acquire equipment for long-term containment and disposal are being examined.

In its oversight role, the federal government will continue to direct BP to plan for a more aggressive response—in the same way the administration pushed for a second relief well, additional redundancy, more transparency, paying for the berms, and a more expedited claims process.

BP Continues to Capture Some Oil and Gas Using Containment Device
BP continues to capture some oil and burn some gas at the surface using its containment dome technique, which is being executed under the federal government’s direction. After cutting off a portion of the riser, BP placed a containment device over it in order to capture oil at its source.

June 11, 2010

Administrator Jackson Briefs Congressional Delegation on EPA Oversight Efforts
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, a native of the Gulf region, traveled to Grand Isle, La.—also her fifth trip to the Gulf Coast—leading a bipartisan congressional delegation. She briefed them on the EPA’s ongoing efforts to protect the health and safety of Gulf Coast residents by monitoring air, water and sediment quality, and dispersant levels. Jackson also met with members of the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and the Coast Guard to inspect beach cleanup efforts and waste management activities.

The Congressiontal delegation led by Administrator Jackson included U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, David Vitter of Louisiana, and Jeff Merkley of Oregon.

Admiral Allen Provides Operational Update of BP Oil Spill Response
National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen provided a briefing to inform the American public and answer questions on the progress of the administration-wide response to the BP oil spill.

BP Continues to Capture Some Oil and Gas Using Containment Device
BP continues to capture some oil and burn some gas at the surface using its containment dome technique, which is being executed under the federal government’s direction. After cutting off a portion of the riser, BP placed a containment device over it in order to capture oil at its source.

Plans Continue to Increase Capacity for Storing Captured Oil
Under the direction of Admiral Allen, BP engineers continue to refine plans for two more collection systems that will use connections on the blowout preventer capture more of the leaking oil in the near term. Gas and oil flow will be collected on the drill ships Q4000 and Clear Leader. Plans to acquire equipment for long-term containment and disposal are being examined.

June 10, 2010

The President Meets with the Family Members of the Victims of the Oil Rig Disaster
In the Red Room and the State Dining Room, the President had individual discussions with family members of the victims of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster. He was joined by Secretary Ken Salazar, Carol Browner, Valerie Jarrett and Admiral Thad Allen.

The President expressed his condolences and told them that he, the First Lady and the entire administration are behind them and will be there long after the cameras are gone as they go through their unimaginable grief. He also said that while offshore drilling is a part of our nation’s overall energy strategy, he simply could not go forward with new deepwater drilling until we have the proper safety measures in place to ensure that a tragedy like this never happens again.
 
The President Discusses Oil Spill Priorities with Congressional Leaders
The President hosted Congressional leaders from both parties to talk through the months ahead and make sure they are as productive as possible. Included at the top of his list of priorities was the ongoing response to the BP oil spill disaster.

The President provided an update about measures that are being taken as part of the single largest national response in United States history to an environmental disaster, and led a frank conversation about the fact that the laws that have been in place have not been adequate for a crisis of this magnitude. The Oil Pollution Act was passed at a time when people didn’t envision drilling four miles under the sea for oil.

Congress Sends a Bill to the President Allowing Continued Response Funding
Congress passed a bill that will allow the movement of monies from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund Principal Fund to the Emergency Fund to enable the continuation of ongoing response operations.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano made the following statement: “I applaud Congress for acting quickly to send a bill to the President that will allow the Coast Guard to continue leveraging every available resource to protect our vital shorelines from BP’s leaking oil,” said Secretary Napolitano. “Lifting the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund spending cap by moving monies from the Principal Fund to the Emergency Fund will enable the Federal On-Scene Coordinator to continue directing funds for critical administration-wide response activities in advance of reimbursement by BP, as a responsible party. While these funds will allow us to continue mounting an all-hands-on-deck, relentless response, our commitment to holding BP accountable for all costs associated with this disaster—both to the federal government and to all affected individuals and businesses suffering losses as a result of this event—has not wavered.”

Officials Provide Update on Progress of Scientific Teams Analyzing Flow Rates
Under the direction of National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen, the Flow Rate Technical Group (FRTG), led by United States Geological Survey Director Dr. Marcia McNutt, and a scientific team led by Energy Secretary Steven Chu are analyzing new data and bringing together several scientific methodologies to develop an updated estimate of how much oil is flowing from BP’s leaking oil well in the Gulf of Mexico. 

The updated estimate, which will bring together the ongoing work of scientists and engineers from the federal government, universities, and research institutions, will be of how much oil has been flowing since the riser was cut on June 3.

Additionally, three of the scientific teams analyzing flow rates have reached updated assessments, based on new data or analysis, of flow rates from BP’s well before the riser was cut. DOI and DOE have also directed BP to provide precise differential pressure measurements inside and outside the top hat to allow federal scientists to develop another independent estimate of how much oil is flowing from BP’s well.

Admiral Allen Provides Operational Update of BP Oil Spill Response
National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen provided a briefing to inform the American public and answer questions on the progress of the administration-wide response to the BP oil spill. A transcript is available here.

Secretary Solis Continues Meetings with Affected Workers in the Gulf Region
Labor Secretary Solis continued her first visit to the Gulf region since the explosion on April 20 to receive briefings from Unified Command officials about the administration’s ongoing aggressive response to the BP oil spill, and inspect efforts to ensure the health, safety and well-being of workers affected by the spill and engaged in the spill response. She met with shrimp and oyster fishing workers, and discussed the response with leaders of local non-profit organizations.

Incident Command Post Activated for Florida Peninsula
Following a multi-week planning and preparation process, the Unified Command stood up a Florida Peninsula Command Post in Miami—providing a command and control structure to direct oil spill preparedness and response activities throughout Florida. The new command post reports to the Unified Area Command in Robert, La.

BP Continues to Capture Some Oil and Gas Using Containment Device
BP continues to capture some oil and burn some gas at the surface using its containment dome technique, which is being executed under the federal government’s direction. After cutting off a portion of the riser, BP placed a containment device over it in order to capture oil at its source.

June 9, 2010

President Obama Briefed on Status of Oil Spill
This afternoon, the President received a briefing on the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill from Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change Carol Browner in the Oval Office. On Monday, June 14, and Tuesday, June 15, the President will travel back to the Gulf Coast for his fourth trip to the region since the BP oil spill. The President will visit Mississippi, Alabama and Florida to further assess the latest efforts to contain and clean up the oil and restore the Gulf Coast. 

Admiral Allen Provides Operational Update of BP Oil Spill Response
National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen provided a briefing to inform the American public and answer questions on the progress of the administration-wide response to the BP oil spill.

Rear Admiral Watson Instructs BP to Execute Oil Containment Contingency Plans
Federal On-Scene Coordinator Rear Admiral James A. Watson has sent a letter to BP instructing them to develop plans—within 72 hours—to “put equipment, systems and processes in place to ensure that the remaining oil and gas flowing can be recovered, taking into account safety, environmental and meteorological factors.”

The letter stressed the importance of redundancies to maintain collection rates in the event of operational problems, the need for multiple recovery vessels once additional capacity is needed, or severe weather, such as a hurricane.

Secretary Solis Visits Gulf Region to Inspect Efforts to Ensure Oil Spill Worker Safety
At the direction of the President, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis traveled to Louisiana to inspect efforts to ensure the health, safety and well-being of workers affected by the BP oil spill. She met with beach cleanup workers in Port Fourchon; discussed worker safety efforts with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) staff; and visited the Terrebonne Career Solutions Center, where she met with Vietnamese workers affected by the spill.

Policy Established to Protect Worker Health and Safety as Heat Rises in the Region
In an effort to protect the health and safety of workers amid rising summer temperatures, the Unified Area Command has established a policy requiring all on-shore and near-shore cleanup workers to follow a work/rest cycle to ensure their safety and well-being—which is determined based on the heat index, type of work being performed and required protective clothing. In addition, cleanup workers must be provided with plenty of water and encouraged to hydrate regularly.

BP Continues to Capture Some Oil and Gas Using Containment Device
BP continues to capture some oil and burn some gas at the surface using its containment dome technique, which is being executed under the federal government’s direction. After cutting off a portion of the riser, BP placed a containment device over it in order to capture oil at its source.

June 8, 2010:

President Obama Announces Fourth Trip to Gulf Coast Starting June 14, 2010
On Monday, June 14, and Tuesday, June 15, the President will make his fourth trip to the Gulf Coast—traveling to Mississippi, Alabama and Florida to further assess the latest efforts to counter the BP oil spill.

NOAA Completes Initial Analysis of Weatherbird II Water Samples
At the briefing, Administrator Lubchenco announced details of the initial analysis of water samples from the University of South Florida’s Weatherbird II, which confirmed the presence of very low concentrations of sub-surface oil and PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons)—determined to be in the range of less than 0.5 parts per million, and PAH levels in the range of parts per trillion. This information is detailed in the Analysis of Hydrocarbons in Samples Provided from the Cruise of the R/V WEATHERBIRD II, May 23‐26, 2010.

Other NOAA scientific research missions to study subsurface impacts in the vicinity of the BP Deepwater Horizon wellhead include the NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson, which is currently underway, and the NOAA Ship Gordon Gunter, which returned June 3 from an eight-day oil detection mission. In addition, NOAA’s P-3 “Hurricane Hunter” is deploying instruments to better track the movement of the Loop Current, and therefore improve our understanding of where the oil is moving at the surface and below the surface.

NOAA Deploys Additional High Powered Research Aircraft to Monitor Gulf Air
A second NOAA WP-3D Orion aircraft was deployed to the Gulf today to build on current air quality monitoring efforts near the BP oil spill. The NOAA aircraft conducted two flights over and around the spill site to detect pollutants and their reaction products released into the atmosphere by the oil, as well as the pollutants and smoke from controlled burns. The flights will enable researchers to better understand the spill’s atmospheric effects.

As part of the federal government's ongoing response to the BP spill, EPA continues its extensive air quality monitoring along the Gulf Coast. In this case, NOAA and EPA are working collaboratively to take advantage of NOAA’s highly specialized atmospheric research capabilities, which can detect concentrations of compounds in the atmosphere with greater sensitivity than standard operational monitoring flights.

June 7, 2010:

President Meets with Cabinet Members and Other Top Officials at White House 
President Obama met with members of his cabinet and other top U.S. government officials involved in the ongoing administration-wide response to the BP oil spill in the Cabinet Room at the White House.

Following the meeting, the President reiterated the federal government’s commitment to ensuring that BP fulfills every claim obligation.

BP Continues to Capture Some Oil and Gas Using Containment Device
BP continues to capture some oil and burn some gas at the surface using its containment dome technique, which is being executed under the federal government’s direction. After cutting off a portion of the riser, BP placed a containment device over it in order to capture oil at its source.

EPA Continues to Monitor Air, Water and Sediment Quality in the Gulf Coast
According to the most recent data, the Environmental Protection Agency has found that air quality levels for ozone and particulates are normal on the Gulf coastline for this time of year. Likewise, water and sediment samples along the Gulf Coast did not reveal elevated levels of chemicals usually found in oil.

EPA has observed odor-causing pollutants associated with petroleum products in the air along the coastline at low levels. Some of these chemicals may cause short-lived effects like headache, eye, nose and throat irritation, or nausea. People may be able to smell some of these chemicals at levels well below those that would cause short-term health problems. Anyone experiencing these and other symptoms should call the Medical Support Line at 1-888-623-0287.

June 5, 2010:

President Obama’s Address from Louisiana on the Oil Spill
Speaking from Grand Isle, Louisiana, the President discusses the hardships local residents and small business owners are facing as a result of the BP oil spill. He pledges to make sure those responsible do not shortchange them. View the President’s Remarks.

Administrator Jackson Hosts Meeting With Experts on Coastal Protection and Cleanup
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and the National Incident Command in Houma, La., convened a meeting of science and technology experts to explore new ideas and methods for coastal protection and clean up technologies—part of continued efforts to engage the brightest minds from across the federal government, academia and the private sector in the ongoing response to the BP oil spill.

These experts, many of whom have years of experience and expertise on oil spill clean-up operations, are examining and analyzing both traditional and innovative approaches to marsh and wetlands oil clean up and remediation in order to identify the most promising alternatives and facilitate ongoing collaborations for both short- and long-term response.

June 4, 2010:

The President Makes His Third Trip to the Gulf Coast
Making his third trip to the Gulf Coast since BP’s oil rig exploded, President Obama traveled to Louisiana to meet with Gulf Coast elected officials, responders on the ground, and local residents and business leaders impacted by the BP oil spill.

Speaking alongside federal officials and Gulf Coast governors, the President sharply criticized BP for spending money on a public relations campaign.

“I don’t have a problem with BP fulfilling its legal obligations,” the President said. “But I want BP to be very clear—they’ve got moral and legal obligations here in the Gulf for the damage that has been done. And what I don’t want to hear is, when they’re spending that kind of money on their shareholders and spending that kind of money on TV advertising, that they’re nickel-and-diming fishermen or small businesses here in the Gulf who are having a hard time.”

The President discussed recent progress in improving coordination between responders and local officials—including bridging differences on the barrier islands proposal and stationing a Coast Guard official and BP representative with each parish president, pledging the same representation for local officials in other Gulf States. The President also traveled to Grand Isle, La., where he met with Mayor David Camardelle and approximately 30 local residents.

Upon arrival in Kenner, La., the President was greeted by Governors Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Charlie Crist of Florida, and Bob Reilly of Alabama; U.S. Senator David Vitter; Louisiana Representatives Charlie Melancon and Anh “Joseph” Cao; New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu; Lafitte Mayor Tim Kerner; and Parish Presidents Billy Nungesser (Plaquemines), Michel Claudette (Terrebonne), Charlotte Randolph (Lafourche), Steve Theriot (Jefferson); Admiral Allen; EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson; and Counselor to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano Tracy Wareing. The President received a briefing from Admiral Allen.

BP Lowers Containment Device Onto Riser; Begins Capturing Some Oil and Gas
Under the federal government’s direction, BP cut off a portion of the riser before attempting to place a containment device over it in order to capture the leaking oil. Late last night, BP placed the containment cap over the source of the leak. The cap has allowed BP to capture some oil and burn some gas at the surface.

In response to these developments, Admiral Allen released the following statement: “The placement of the containment cap is another positive development in BP’s most recent attempt to contain the leak; however, it will be sometime before we can confirm that this method will work and to what extent it will mitigate the release of oil into the environment. Even if successful, this is only a temporary and partial fix and we must continue our aggressive response operations at the source, on the surface and along the Gulf's precious coastline.”

June 3, 2010:

BP Completes Riser Shear Operation and Continues to Ready Containment Device
Under the federal government’s direction, BP cut off a portion of the riser and is now preparing its attempt to lower a device over the area that will allow them to try and capture a substantial amount of the oil leaking out.

In order to ensure the American public receive the most accurate information, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change Policy Carol Browner has provided an estimate, calculated by the National Incident Command’s Flow Rate Technical Group, that BP's tactic involving cutting off this portion of the riser could result in a temporary increase in oil flow by as much as 20 percent until the containment device is applied over the leak. This group, including government scientists and academic experts, will continue to evaluate a potential temporary increase as a result of this tactic and will provide any additional assessments as they become available.
 
EPA Administrator Meets with Local Officials on Environmental Impact of BP spill
Continuing her fourth trip to the Gulf Coast, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson provided a briefing for approximately 45 local mayors and elected officials from Mississippi and Alabama on the EPA’s ongoing efforts to protect local residents and monitor air, water and sediment quality in the Gulf Coast region. Administrator Jackson also toured the Incident Command Post in Mobile, Ala., and visited an EPA mobile air monitoring vehicle near Dauphin Island.

May 31, 2010

Federal Mobile Medial Unit Arrives in Louisiana
A federal mobile medical unit arrived in Venice, La., today to provide additional basic medical care for responders and residents of coastal communities affected by the oil spill.

The mobile medical unit, provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in coordination with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, will integrate with the local medical community to triage and provide basic care for responders and residents concerned about health effects of the oil spill. Patients then can be referred to local healthcare providers or hospitals.

May 28, 2010

The President Makes Second Trip to the Gulf Coast to View Response Firsthand
President Obama traveled to the Gulf Coast to get another first-hand look at the progress of the response efforts and to be briefed by those on the ground. The President spoke to the frustration felt by those in the local community and across America and discussed extensively what he saw touring the tragedy this morning. The President also commended those in the area who have “rolled up their sleeves” to help with the clean up, saying that “we’re in this together.”

The President announced that he has directed Secretary Napolitano and Admiral Allen to triple the manpower in the places where oil has hit the shore or is within 24 hours of impact in order to further intensify what’s already an historic response effort, contain and remove oil more quickly, and help minimize the time that any oil comes into contact with our coastline.

The President also stressed that everyone in Louisiana and across this region is working night and day to end this crisis. He said the federal government is considering every idea out there, especially from the folks who know these communities the best—and emphasized to all Gulf Coast leaders he met with that if something is not going right, if there is an idea, a suggestion, or a logjam that needs to be dealt with, that there is no one who can’t get in touch with himself directly.

At the briefing in Grand Isle, La., the President was joined by National Incident Commander Thad Allen, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Alabama Governor Bob Riley, Florida Governor Charlie Crist, U.S. Senators Mary Landrieu and David Vitter, Congressman Charlie Melancon, Jefferson Parish President Billy Nungesser and LaFourche Parish President Charlotte Randolph.

In total, senior administration officials have visited the region 26 times since BP’s oil rig exploded on April 20—including trips by the President, Interior Secretary Salazar, EPA Administrator Jackson, Admiral Allen, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco and SBA Administrator Karen Mills.

May 27, 2010

The President Updates the American People on the Spill and the Government’s Response
The President updated the American people on the status of the BP oil spill. The President said the federal government is directing the effort to contain and cleanup the damage from the spill—which is now the largest effort of its kind in U.S. history. The President also discussed what the government is doing to help the men and women whose livelihoods have been disrupted and even destroyed by this spill as well as the steps he is taking to ensure that a catastrophe like this never happens again. 

The President is Briefed on the Outlook for the 2010 Hurricane Season
President Obama was briefed by FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco and National Hurricane Center Director Bill Read, as well as five FEMA Regional Administrators adding their local prospective, on the outlook for hurricane season and the federal government’s efforts to prepare all federal partners, state and local governments, the private sector and the public for hurricanes and other emergencies.

The President stressed that the government must ensure we consider the effects the BP oil spill could have on storms, response capabilities, and recovery efforts in planning for this year’s season but that those considerations do not change the primary mission of emergency management officials during a response, which is to support state efforts to protect lives and property. 

May 26, 2010

Scientists Collaborate to Assess Unprecedented Usage of Dispersants
Interagency response partners are working with the Coastal Response Research Center, a partnership between NOAA and the University of New Hampshire, to bring leading scientists, practitioners, and representatives from federal and state governmental agencies and nongovernmental organizations together to address key questions arising from the unprecedented use of chemical dispersants in response to the BP oil spill.

Health Impact Surveillance Continues
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is conducting surveillance in Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Alabama and Florida to detect any potential health effects related to the oil spill using established national surveillance systems, including the National Poison Data System (NPDS) and BioSense to track respiratory, vascular, and dermal issues.

CDC is also coordinating and clarifying procedures and case definitions for FDA and states to use with surveillance systems in detecting illnesses associated with consumption of oil contaminated products.

May 24, 2010

Fishery Failure is Determined, Balancing Economic and Public Health Needs
Commerce Secretary Gary Locke determined there has been a fishery disaster in the Gulf of Mexico due to the economic impact on commercial and recreational fisheries from the ongoing Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The affected area includes the states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

This action was taken because of the potentially significant economic hardship this spill may cause fishermen and the businesses and communities that depend on those fisheries. The disaster determination will help ensure that the Federal government is in a position to mobilize the full range of assistance that fishermen and fishing communities may need.

Locke made the determination under Section 312(a) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The declaration was made in response to requests from Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour based on the loss of access to many commercial fisheries and the existing and anticipated environmental damage from this unprecedented event.

NOAA Mobilizes Three Teams of Scientists to Collect Strategic Samples
In response to the Deepwater BP oil spill, NOAA’s Mussel Watch program has mobilized three teams of scientists to test shellfish, sediment and water at 60 locations along the Gulf of Mexico from the Florida Keys to Brazos River, Texas.
 
The mission of this Mussel Watch effort is to collect additional baseline data on contamination in strategic areas of the Gulf shoreline so that if the oil hits a particular area, new samples can be taken that would reveal the full impact of the spill.
 
These preliminary samples will be tested for 60 oil-related compounds—to include polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, known as PAHs. NOAA will use this data as part of the natural resources damage assessment that determines the type and amount of restoration that is required for the Gulf.

May 23, 2010

Oil Cleanup Efforts Continue to Build in Louisiana
Response personnel and Shoreline Cleanup and Assessment Teams, along with hundreds of volunteers, continue to clean the Louisiana coastal areas impacted by the Deepwater BP oil spill. Approximately 400 people, more than 300 vessels and 45 aircraft are on-scene in Iberia, Jefferson, Lafourche, Plaquemines, and Terrebonne Parishes investigating reports of oil, cleaning impacted areas and evaluating response efforts to ensure the oil is removed with the most environmentally responsible methods.

Response crews and Shoreline Cleanup and Assessment Teams have positioned more than half a million feet of boom in the region. They are manually removing oil with shovels and rakes, skimming the oil off the surface, applying dispersant and conducting controlled burning operations at every opportunity to minimize coastal impact.

Additional response personnel and equipment is being surged into areas where modeling and aerial surveillance indicate a greater potential for shoreline impact. Anyone who locates oil on the shore should avoid contact and report the sighting to (866) 448-5816.

May 22, 2010

The President Signs an Executive Order Establishing Bipartisan Commission
President Obama announced that he has signed an executive order establishing the bipartisan National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling with former two-term Florida Governor and former Senator Bob Graham and former Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency William K. Reilly serving as co-chairs.

The bipartisan National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling is tasked with providing recommendations on how we can prevent—and mitigate the impact of—any future spills that result from offshore drilling.

The commission will be focused on the necessary environmental and safety precautions we must build into our regulatory framework in order to ensure an accident like this never happens again, taking into account the other investigations concerning the causes of the spill.

The commission will have bipartisan co-chairs with a total membership of seven people. Membership will include broad and diverse representation of individuals with relevant expertise. No sitting government employees or elected officials will sit on the commission.

The Commission’s work will be transparent and subject to the Federal Advisory Committee Act.  The Commission will issue a report within six months of having been convened.

EPA Releases BP’s Response to Dispersants Directive
The EPA released BP’s response to its directive on dispersants, which required BP to evaluate available, pre-approved dispersants for toxicity and effectiveness and report back to EPA within 24 hours. EPA will continue to work over the next 48 hours to ensure BP is complying with the directive.

BP and several of the dispersant manufacturers have claimed some sections of BP’s response contain confidential business information (CBI). By law, CBI cannot be immediately made public except with the company's permission. EPA challenged these companies to make more information public and, as a result, several portions of the letter can now be made public. EPA is currently evaluating all legal options to ensure that the remaining redacted information is released to the public. EPA continues to strongly urge these companies to voluntarily make this information public so Americans can get a full picture of the potential environmental impact of these alternative dispersants.

May 20, 2010

EPA Begins Posting Results from Monitoring of BP’s Subsea Dispersant Use  
EPA last night began posting results from the ongoing monitoring of BP’s use of underwater dispersants in the Gulf of Mexico. EPA received this data from BP last night and posted it within hours. Dispersants are a chemical used to break up oil into small droplets so that they are more easily degraded.

Directive Issued Requiring BP to Identify and Use Less Toxic, More Effective Dispersant
EPA issued a directive requiring BP to identify and use a less toxic and more effective dispersant from the list of EPA authorized dispersants. Dispersants are a chemical used to break up oil into small droplets so that they are more easily degraded.

The directive requires BP to identify a less toxic alternative—to be used both on the surface and under the water at the source of the oil leak—within 24 hours and to begin using the less toxic dispersant within 72 hours of submitting the alternative. If BP is unable to identify available alternative dispersant products, BP must provide the Coast Guard and EPA with a detailed description of the alternative dispersants investigated, and the reason they believe those products did not meet the required standards.

May 19, 2010

Observations Indicate a Small Portion of Light Oil Sheen Has Entered the Loop Current
NOAA’s latest observations indicate that a small portion of the oil has reached the Loop Current in the form of light to very light sheens.

In the time it would take for oil to travel to the vicinity of the Florida Straits, any oil would be highly weathered and both the natural process of evaporation and the application of chemical dispersants would reduce the oil volume significantly. However, the oil may get caught in a clockwise eddy in the middle of the gulf, and not be carried to the Florida Straits at all.

The Coast Guard has confirmed that the tar balls collected yesterday in the Florida Keys did not originate with the BP oil spill.

May 18, 2010

The President Urges Congress to Act on Legislation to Enhance Response
President Obama again urged Congress to act quickly on a legislative package that will enable the Deepwater BP Oil Spill response to continue expeditiously, speed assistance to people affected by this spill, and strengthen and update the oil spill liability system to better address catastrophic events.

Coastal Waters Assessment Team Completes Sampling
NOAA’s Mussel Watch replacement team completed sampling throughout coastal Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, and is now focused on collecting oysters, sediments and water at eight remaining sites in Texas. In total, the Mussel Watch pre-oiling sample expedition will have visited 60 sites in the northeastern Gulf region in partnership with NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service, the Louisiana Department of Fish & Wildlife, Louisiana State University, and the MOTE Marine Laboratory.

May 17, 2010

Seafood Safety Analysis Continues
NOAA Fisheries is collecting baseline samples for seafood safety analyses on the west side of the Mississippi river. Two locations were sampled and the research vessel is now moving west of the oil spill in Louisiana waters. NOAA Fisheries also contracted a fishing vessel that left Saturday morning to sample the easternmost closed fishing zone using bottom trawl gear.

May 15, 2010

Coast Guard and EPA Approve Use of Dispersant Subsea
The U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced they have authorized BP to use dispersants underwater, at the source of the Deepwater Horizon leak. Oil spill dispersants are chemicals that attempt to break down the oil into small drops and prevent it from reaching the surface or the U.S. shoreline. Dispersants are generally less harmful than the highly toxic oil leaking from the source and biodegrade in a much shorter time span.

The use of the dispersant at the source of the leak represents a novel approach to addressing the significant environmental threat posed by the spill. Preliminary testing results indicate that subsea use of the dispersant is effective at reducing the amount of oil from reaching the surface—and can do so with the use of less dispersant than is needed when the oil does reach the surface. This is an important step to reduce the potential for damage from oil reaching fragile wetlands and coastal areas.

This course of action was decided upon with thorough evaluation and consideration of many factors as well as consultation with stakeholders. While BP pursues the use of subsea dispersants, the federal government will require regular analysis of its effectiveness and impact on the environment, water and air quality, and human health through a rigorous monitoring program. EPA's directive to BP, including the monitoring plan the company must adhere to in order to ensure the protection of the environment and public health, is publicly available.

Staging Area Total Grows to 17
17 staging areas are in place and ready to protect sensitive shorelines, including: Dauphin Island, Ala., Orange Beach, Ala., Theodore, Ala., Panama City, Fla., Pensacola, Fla.,  Port St. Joe, Fla., St. Marks, Fla.,  Amelia, La., Cocodrie, La., Grand Isle, La., Shell Beach, La., Slidell, La., St. Mary, La.; Venice, La., Biloxi, Miss., Pascagoula, Miss., and Pass Christian, Miss.

Mussel Watch Team is Dispatched
A NOAA Mussel Watch team has been sent to the Gulf to collect mussel samples, including oyster tissue, sediments, and water from Atchafalaya Bay, La., west to the Brazos River, Texas. The team has partnered with the Louisiana Department of Fish and Game to collect remaining sites in Louisiana, and will then work with the NMFS Galveston Laboratory to collect sites along the Texas coast. Mussel Watch is the longest continuous contaminant monitoring program in U.S. coastal waters.

May 13, 2010

BP’s “Top Hat” Containment System Approaches Completion
MMS reports that BP has approached completion of the “top hat” containment system, and expects an update from BP as early as tomorrow on its operational status.

May 12, 2010

The President Introduces Legislation to Enhance the Response
As part of the administration’s commitment to pursue full compensation for damages from BP and other responsible parties, the President sent a legislative package to Congress that will enable the Deepwater BP Oil Spill response to continue expeditiously, speed assistance to people affected by this spill, and strengthen and update the oil spill liability system to better address catastrophic events.

While the President’s proposal will ask for additional funds in some cases, the federal government will not relent in pursuing full compensation for the expenses it has incurred, and for damage caused by the spill. The President has been clear from the beginning: his Administration will not rest until the leak is contained and cleaned up. To learn more about the President’s proposed legislation, please visit this site: Fact Sheet: Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Legislative Package 

May 6, 2010

Oil Reaches Shoreline
Shoreline Cleanup and Assessment Teams (SCAT)—federal, state and BP officials working to assess and determine how cleanup will be conducted, and oversee cleanup operations—confirmed that oil was found on the beach at Chandeleur Islands, a small group of uninhabited barrier islands off the northeast of the Mississippi Delta. The Chandeleur Islands are part of the Breton National Wildlife Refuge.

CDC Toxic Substance Monitoring
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Center for Environmental Health and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry are monitoring the gulf oil spill and offering assistance as needed to lead federal agencies and impacted states and communities.

May 5, 2010

Aerial Dispersant Spray Missions
Modular Aerial Spray System (MASS) aircraft flew four missions—dispensing the same dispersant chemical being used by BP and the federal responders. These systems are capable of covering up to 250 acres per flight.

Seafood Inspection
NOAA Fisheries continues to collect seafood samples and transfer those to the National Seafood Inspection Lab.

May 4, 2010

National Guard Activation
Secretary 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 state of Louisiana has activated approximately 1,200 National Guard members under Title 32 for command and control and sandbagging operations in St Bernard and Plaquemines parishes. Louisiana National Guard personnel are actively manning the Joint Operations Center and Tactical Aviation Cell.

20 More Vessels and 4,500 Responders Are Deployed to the Gulf Coast
The response continues to mobilize and move more resources into the gulf to support BP, the responsible party, and apply federal resources to mitigate environmental damage, including moving 20 more vessels to the area and deploying an additional 4,500 responders.

Air Quality Monitoring
EPA’s Air Quality Index (AQI) tracks levels of particulate matter and ozone along the Gulf Coast—data available publicly daily at http://www.airnow.gov and http://gulfcoast.airnowtech.org. In addition to these monitors, EPA’s emergency response teams have put up multiple monitoring stations to track larger particulate matter. The location of these monitoring stations is flexible as conditions change during this response. 

The next in a daily series of press briefings was conducted between the Minerals Management Service (MMS), the Coast Guard, NOAA, BP and Transocean at the Joint Information Center in Robert, La., as well as daily legislative and intergovernmental calls.

May 2, 2010

President Obama Visits Gulf Coast to Inspect Response Effort
President Obama visits the Gulf Coast to inspect response operations firsthand, underscoring the administration’s all-hands-on-deck response to protect the coastline of potentially affected Gulf Coast states.

EPA Posts First Air Monitoring Data Results
EPA posts on its dedicated response website the first air monitoring data it has collected in the area—with no red flags.

NOAA Announces Fishing Restriction
NOAA announces a fishing restriction for a minimum of ten days in federal waters most affected by the BP oil spill, largely between Louisiana state waters at the mouth of the Mississippi River to waters off Florida’s Pensacola Bay. The closure was effective immediately. This order balances economic and health concerns and only closes those areas affected by oil. Details are provided by the NOAA Fisheries Service.

April 29, 2010

Spill of National Significance is Declared and White House Holds Briefing for White House Reporters on the Additional Breach and Corresponding Response Efforts
Senior officials from across the government, including Secretary Napolitano, EPA Administrator Jackson and NOAA Administrator Lubchenco and White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs brief White House reporters in the White House briefing room on the change in the event: the additional breach.

Secretary Napolitano announces that the event would now become designated a Spill of National Significance (SONS), which built on the efforts already underway from day one to leverage the full resources of the federal government to be brought to bear in response to this further escalating event. The SONS designation enabled the appointment of a National Incident Commander to coordinate response resources at the national level. The designation does not provide additional funding or authority—nor was it needed, as that authority already existed and resources were mobilized in case the situation worsened from day one. This is why the day DHS announced the SONS designation, there were already more than 70 vessels in the Gulf of Mexico responding to the spill and approximately 1,100 personnel already deployed and on scene to assist.

The President Makes Remarks on the Oil Spill’s Escalated Situation
The President updates the American people on the worsening situation in the Gulf of Mexico and states that his administration will continue to use every single available resource at our disposal, including potentially the Department of Defense, to address the incident.

April 25, 2010

Outreach to Potentially Impacted Gulf Coast States, Response Equipment Staging Areas Established
All potentially impacted Gulf Coast states are notified and invited to participate in the command center located in Robert, La. Response equipment staging areas were established in Venice, La., Biloxi, Miss., and Pensacola, Fla.

April 24, 2010

First Oil Leaks Discovered and USCG Elevates Response
For the first time, oil was found to be leaking—one leak from the riser and one leak from the drill pipe. The Coast Guard elevated the response and established a Regional Command Center and Joint Information Center in Robert, La., inviting all partners in the response to join.

April 23, 2010

No Apparent Leak
The rig was found—sunken and upside down approximately 1,500 feet northwest of the blowout preventer. An oil sheen was reported with approximately 8,400 gallons estimated on the water and there was no apparent leak discovered.

April 22, 2010

Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig Sinks
At approximately 10:22 a.m., the oil rig sank with approximately 700,000 gallons of diesel fuel on board.

The National Response Team (NRT) is Activated
On the afternoon of April 22, the National Response Team (NRT) convenes its first daily meeting with leadership from across the federal government, including the White House, U.S. Coast Guard, the Department of Defense, DHS, DOC, DOI and EPA, among others. The NRT is an organization of 16 federal departments and agencies responsible for coordinating emergency preparedness and response to oil and hazardous substance pollution events. During this event, NRT meetings have been run by Secretary Napolitano.

The President Convenes a Principal Level Meeting: “Treat This Response as The Number One Priority”
The President convenes a meeting in the Oval Office with principals across the government to discuss the situation and ongoing response efforts, and ordered that the administration use every single available resource at its disposal to respond to the event and investigate its cause. A readout was issued to press stating: “The President made sure that the entire federal government was offering all assistance needed in the rescue effort as well as in mitigating and responding to the environmental impact and that this response was being treated as the number one priority. The President asked the responding departments to devote every resource needed to respond to this incident and investigate its cause.”

April 20, 2010

Search and Rescue
The U.S. government response to the BP Oil Spill began immediately after the explosion on the night of April 20 as an emergency search-and-rescue mission. At approximately 10:30 p.m. that night, notification was received that Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit (MODU) Deepwater Horizon had exploded and was on fire. The rig was located 45 miles southeast of Venice, La.

The President is Alerted
The President is alerted to the event and he begins actively monitoring the situation. At the time, it was known that 126 people were on the rig when the explosion occurred.
 

  • This page last reviewed: September 29, 2010