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

Cross-posted from the White House Blog

Since the Deepwater Horizon explosion the night of April 20, federal authorities, both military and civilian, have been working onsite and around the clock to respond to and mitigate the impact of the resulting BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

We have compiled this chronology in the spirit of transparency so the American people can have a clear understanding of what their government has been and is doing to respond to the massive and potentially unprecedented environmental disaster.

Heidi Avery is White House Deputy Homeland Security Advisor


NIGHT OF TUESDAY, APRIL 20

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.

Establish Command Center to Address Potential Environmental Impacts

Concurrently, the administration also quickly establishes a command center on the Gulf Coast to address the potential environmental impact of the event and to coordinate with all state and local governments. Since this point, the administration has continuously anticipated and planned for a worst-case scenario.

NOAA Mobilizes to Provide Trajectory Support

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) mobilizes within three hours of the explosion and started to provide trajectory support and coordinated scientific weather and biological response services. The NOAA weather forecast office in Slidell, La., also provided weather information to the Coast Guard at its request shortly after the explosion to support initial search-and-rescue operations.

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.

Assets Deployed To Date

Total response vessels: Two Coast Guard cutters

Total response aircraft: Four helicopters and one rescue plane

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21

Deputy Secretary of Interior David Hayes is Deployed to the Gulf Coast
The morning after the explosion, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar deployed Deputy Secretary David J. Hayes to the Gulf Coast to assist with coordination and response to the event, and provide hourly reports to Secretary Salazar and other administration officials.

Interagency Coordination Begins Across the Government, Federal On-Scene Coordinator is Named and Regional Response Team is Stood Up

Interagency coordination begins immediately among federal partners—including the Coast Guard; the Departments of Homeland Security (DHS), Commerce (DOC), Interior (DOI); and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—providing federal assets and overseeing BP’s response. Pursuant to the National Contingency Plan, Rear Admiral Mary Landry was named the Federal On-Scene Coordinator and a Regional Response Team was stood up that included the U.S. Coast Guard, DHS, DOC/NOAA, DOI and the EPA, as well as state and local representatives. The Regional Response Team immediately began developing plans, providing technical advice and access to resources and equipment from its member agencies, and overseeing BP’s response.

The Administration Oversees BP’s Response

The administration begins holding meetings and regular calls with BP leadership to discuss BP’s response effort, as well as federal oversight and support, and urged BP to leverage additional assets to help respond to this event.

Interagency Joint DHS-DOI Investigation Begins

Secretary Salazar and Secretary Napolitano direct that a joint investigation begin into the cause of the event. The investigation, jointly led by the U.S. Coast Guard and the Minerals Management Service (MMS), are given subpoena power, will hold public hearings, and call witnesses. MMS and USCG begin interviewing rig personnel.

National Park Service Plans Contingencies to Protect Vulnerable Parks Along Gulf Coast

The National Parks Service (NPS) Spill Response Coordinator, Regional Emergency Services Coordinator, and Deputy Chief of Emergency Services begin strategic planning of contingencies to protect potentially vulnerable national parks along the Gulf Coast.

MMS Establishes Ops Center and Deploys Staff to BP and Transocean Command Posts
MMS establishes an Emergency Operations Center at its Gulf of Mexico Regional Office in New Orleans, and deployed employees to the BP Incident Command Post (ICP) and the Transocean ICP in Houston.

NOAA Selects Scientific Support Coordinator and Deploys Him to USCG Command Post
NOAA Environmental Scientist Charlie Henry arrive on site at the Coast Guard’s Command Post in Morgan City, La., to serve as NOAA’s Scientific Support Coordinator. NOAA issued the initial trajectory advice and began providing them twice daily.

The President is Briefed
The President monitors the response and is briefed throughout the day by the White House Situation Room

Search and Rescue Continues

Of the 126 total people on the rig at the time of the event, 115 crew members were accounted for. The Coast Guard continued to actively search for all 11 individuals still missing through the night, with multiple units, vessels and aircraft responding.

Daily Response On-Site Press Briefing Begins

The first in a daily series of press briefings was conducted between the Minerals Management Service (MMS), the Coast Guard, BP and Transocean.

Assets Deployed To Date

Total response vessels: Two Coast Guard cutters

Total response aircraft: Four helicopters and one rescue plane

Response Photos:

http://cgvi.uscg.mil/media/main.php?g2_itemId=836364

http://cgvi.uscg.mil/media/main.php?g2_itemId=836361

http://cgvi.uscg.mil/media/main.php?g2_itemId=835864

http://cgvi.uscg.mil/media/main.php?g2_itemId=837369

THURSDAY, APRIL 22

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.”

The NRT Holds Second Meeting of the Day to Implement President Obama’s Instructions

Following the Oval Office meeting, the NRT holds a second evening meeting—again including the Coast Guard, the Department of Defense, DHS, DOC, DOI and EPA, among others.

No Apparent Leak

Air and sea restriction zones are established around the sink site for safety purposes. The Coast Guard conducted overflights and multiple unsuccessful dives were made with remote operated marine vehicles to find the wellhead. No leak was apparent.

Dispersants Are Pre-Positioned In Case Situation Worsens

Despite a lack of apparent leak, 100,000 gallons of dispersants are already pre-positioned between Stennis, Miss., Houma and Lake Charles, La., and pre-approved for use by EPA Regions VI and IV Regional Response Teams.

NOAA Begins to Provide Marine Pollution Surveillance Reports

NOAA Satellite and Information Service provides the first experimental marine pollution surveillance report using satellite data, and began providing daily updates.

Search and Rescue Continues

Coast Guard continues to actively search for all 11 missing individuals from the rig through the night, with multiple units responding.

Intergovernmental Calls with Potentially Impacted Gulf Coast Communities Begin

Intergovernmental calls update potentially impacted gulf coast communities the response are communicated to potentially impacted Gulf Coast communities

Daily Response On-Site Press Briefing is Conducted

The next in a daily series of press briefings was conducted between the Minerals Management Service (MMS), the Coast Guard, NOAA, BP and Transocean.

Assets Deployed To Date

Total response vessels: Two Coast Guard cutters

Total response aircraft: Four helicopters and one rescue plane

Response Photos:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/uscgd8/4551846015/in/set-72157623940838176/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/39955793@N07/4545746887/

http://cgvi.uscg.mil/media/main.php?g2_itemId=838790

FRIDAY, APRIL 23

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.

White House Convened Principal Level Meeting to Discuss Response and Planning In Case Situation Worsens

White House convenes principal level meeting with top officials from across the government including Secretary Napolitano and the NRT in the White House Situation Room to review actions underway and discuss policy considerations and planning in case the situation worsens.

U.S. Government Continues to Mobilize and Move More Resources In Case Situation Worsens

The U.S. government 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 8 more vessels to the area

EPA Prepares To Deploy Staff to the Region for Air Monitoring

EPA begins preparations to deploy staff to the region to support the Coast Guard with air monitoring and other activities.

MMS Shuts Down Two Pipelines In the Area To Do Inspection

MMS reports that two pipelines in the vicinity of the sunken rig were shut down until they could be inspected.

Sunken Rig Assessments Continue

Four remote operated marine vehicles continue to monitor the stack, conduct surveys of the riser and pipelines, and assess the stability of the sunken rig.

Unified Area Command is Formally Stood Up

The Unified Area Command is formally and fully stood up in Robert, La., after three days of informal operations and planning.

The President is Briefed

The President monitors the response and is briefed throughout the day by the White House Situation Room

NOAA’s National Weather Service Begins Coordinated Scientific Weather Reports

NOAA’s National Weather Service begins providing coordinated scientific weather and biological response services to federal, state and local organizations.

Search and Rescue Suspends at 5p.m

The Coast Guard continues to actively search for all 11 missing individuals until approximately 5 p.m., when the search was suspended.

Daily Legislative Calls Begin and Daily Response On-Site Press Briefing and Intergovernmental Calls Are Conducted, Deepwaterhorizonresponse.com is Launched

The Coast Guard conducts the next in a daily series of press briefings and intergovernmental calls. A response website with consolidated information was established at http://www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com/.

Assets Deployed To Date—8 More Vessels Arrive

Total response vessels: approximately 10
Oily water recovered: 7,600 gallons
Dispersant used: 1,900 gallons

SATURDAY, APRIL 24

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.

NPS Prepares for Potential Oil Spill on national park land along the Gulf Coast

NPS begins cataloging resources and sampling pre-landfall conditions of resources in order to prepare for potential impact of the oil spill on national park land along the Gulf Coast.

MMS Begins to Review BP Applications for Permit to Drill Two Relief Wells

MMS reports that they expected to receive and begin reviewing BP Applications for Permit to Drill (APD) for two relief wells. Four remote operated marine vehicles continued to monitor the stack, conduct surveys of the riser and pipelines, and assess the stability of the sunken rig.

The President is Briefed

The President monitors the response and is briefed throughout the day by the White House Situation Room

Daily On-Site Press Briefing, Legislative and Intergovernmental Calls are Conducted

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

Assets Deployed To Date

Total response vessels: approximately 10
Oily water recovered: approximately 40,000 gallons

Response Photos:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/uscgd8/4549418892/

SUNDAY, APRIL 25

Overflights indicated the oil spill size was approximately 48 miles wide by 39 miles long.

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.

U.S. Naval Air Station Serves as Staging Facility

At the request of the Coast Guard, the U.S. Navy provides Naval Air Station Pensacola as a staging facility for BP-contractor provided equipment (i.e. containment booms, recovery barges, tractor trailer trucks, various pumps and other related oil response equipment).

20 More Vessels and 500 Responders Are Deployed In Case Situation Worsens

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 500 responders

MMS Approves Resumption of One of the Two Pipelines Previously Shut Down and Works With BP on Exploration Plan to Drill Relief Wells

MMS approves resumption of one of the two pipelines that were previously shut down to allow for inspection, and continued to work with BP on an exploration plan to drill the two relief wells.

The President is Briefed

The President monitors the response and is briefed throughout the day by the White House Situation Room

Daily On-Site Press Briefing, Legislative and Intergovernmental Calls are Conducted

The next in a daily series of press briefings is 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.

Assets Deployed To Date-20 More Vessels and 500 Responders

Total response vessels: more than 30
Boom deployed: 21,340 feet
Oily water recovered: approximately 42,000 gallons
Dispersant used: 12,600 gallons

Dispersant available: approximately 100,000 gallons
Overall personnel responding: approximately 500

Response Photos:

http://cgvi.uscg.mil/media/main.php?g2_itemId=841178

http://www.flickr.com/photos/uscgd8/4552485336/

MONDAY, APRIL 26

Secretary Salazar Announces Physical Inspections of All Deepwater Rigs

Secretary Salazar directs MMS to commence physical inspections of all deepwater rigs to be concluded with two weeks, followed by physical inspections of all deepwater platforms.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Begin Identifying High Priority National Resources for Booming Operations

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service begin working with the Coast Guard and other partners to identify high-priority natural resources (national wildlife refuges) for booming operations along potentially affected Gulf Coast areas.

The President is Briefed

The President monitors the response and is briefed throughout the day by the White House Situation Room

BP Submits Application for Preliminary Drilling

MMS reports that the Application for Preliminary Drilling (APD) for the Development Driller III had been submitted by BP and was currently under review. A total of 15 MMS personnel were deployed to support event response.

Daily On-Site Press Briefing, Legislative and Intergovernmental Calls are Conducted

The next in a daily series of press briefings is 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.

Assets Deployed To Date- 500 More Responders Deploy

Total response vessels: more than 30
Boom deployed: 21,340 feet
Oily water recovered: 48,384 gallons
Dispersant used: 14,654 gallons
Dispersant available: 119,734 gallons
Overall personnel responding: more than 1,000

Response Photos:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/uscgd8/4557684643/in/set-72157623940838176/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/uscgd8/4558317388/in/set-72157623940838176/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/uscgd8/4558215118/

TUESDAY, APRIL 27

DOI-DHS Announce Formal Investigation Next Steps
Secretary Salazar and Secretary Napolitano announce the formal next steps to their joint investigation underway into the causes of the explosion that left 11 workers missing, three critically injured, and an ongoing oil spill that the responsible party and federal agencies are working to contain and clean up. It is proceeding under a Joint Statement of Principles and Convening Order, which convenes the formal joint investigation, and a Memorandum of Agreement, which lays out roles and responsibilities that relate to each agency’s area of expertise.

White House Meets with BP to Discuss Response Efforts

Numerous top administration officials, including Secretary Napolitano, Secretary Salazar, White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett and Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Carol Browner hold meetings in Washington with BP executives and received briefings on company efforts to stop the oil flow.

The President is Briefed

The President monitors the response and is briefed throughout the day by the White House Situation Room

Controlled Burn Plans Are Approved

Plans for a controlled burn of contained oil were approved late at night for the following day. Burns of this type are heavily dependent on weather conditions.

Daily On-Site Press Briefing, Legislative and Intergovernmental Calls are Conducted

The next in a daily series of press briefings is 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.

Assets Deployed To Date-20 Additional Vessels Arrive

Total response vessels: approximately 50
Boom deployed: 29,280 feet
Boom available: 80,900 feet
Oily water recovered: 260,652 gallons
Dispersant used: 29,140 gallons
Dispersant available: 119,734 gallons
Overall personnel responding: more than 1,000

Response Photos:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/uscgd8/4563748656/in/set-72157623940838176/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/uscgd8/4563118299/in/set-72157623940838176/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/uscgd8/4558745875/
http://governor.alabama.gov/gallery/images_detail.aspx?ID=995

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 28

Controlled Burn Is Conducted

A successful controlled, on-location burn is conducted for approximately 30 minutes—a strategy designed to minimize environmental risks by removing large quantities of oil in the Gulf of Mexico following the April 20 explosion. Burns of this type are heavily dependent on weather conditions.

Secretary Salazar Travels to BP Command Center in Houston

Secretary Salazar travels to the BP command center in Houston to review BP’s operations and response efforts.

MMS Approves First Drilling Permit for First Relief Well

MMS reports that the drilling permit for the first relief well had been approved, and that the application for the second relief well was under review.

U.S. Navy Sends Additional Assets

In direct support of the Coast Guard under an existing pollution clean-up and salvage operations agreement, the Navy provides a variety of oil pollution control equipment. The Navy sent thousands of feet of inflatable oil boom with mooring equipment, several skimming systems, related support gear, and personnel to support oil spill response efforts. Naval Air Station Pensacola is serving as a staging facility for Coast Guard contractor-provided equipment.

Daily On-Site Press Briefing, Legislative and Intergovernmental Calls are Conducted

The next in a daily series of press briefings is 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.

Additional Breach Discovered, President is Briefed and Response Escalates

Late in the day, BP alerted the U.S. government to an additional breach. As soon as the additional breach was discovered, senior officials from across the government already convened in the White House Situation Room immediately briefed the President on Air Force One, and Rear Admiral Landry is sent back out for the second time that day to brief press, this time on the additional breach and the steps the administration is taking to respond, including that the President urged – out of an abundance of caution, and mindful of the new information – that we must continue to pre-position resources to continue to aggressively confront this incident.

Assets Deployed To Date

Total response vessels: approximately 50
Boom deployed: 147,100 feet
Oily water recovered: 400,080 gallons
Dispersant used: 56,000 gallons
Dispersant available: 119,734 gallons
Overall personnel responding: more than 1,000

Response Photos:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/uscgd8/4563719473/in/set-72157623940838176/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/39955793@N07/4566316896/

THURSDAY, APRIL 29

Oil Spill Update During the PDB

The President receives another in depth briefing of the escalating situation in his morning PDB session

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 Orders Secretary Salazar to Deliver Report on Additional Safety Measures for Offshore Operations to be Completed Within 30 Days

Secretary Salazar receives direction from the President to deliver in 30 days a report with recommendations on what, if any, additional safety measures should be required for offshore operations. He then announced that inspections of all deepwater rigs and platforms were underway.

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.

White House Convenes Deputy’s Committee Meeting in Situation Room

The White House convenes a meeting at the deputy secretary level with senior officials from across the government to discuss the escalating situation, the response and to continue planning for worsening situations

DoD Designates Mississippi’s Kessler Air Force Base as Base Support Installation

DOD designates Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi as a base support installation. The installation will serve as a location where military units conduct logistical operations.

DOI Secretary Salazar Hosts Meeting of Oil and Gas Companies to Urge Them To Help

Secretary Salazar spends the day in Houston reviewing BP’s operations and response efforts. Upon his return from Houston, Secretary Salazar hosts a meeting of oil and gas companies in his office and urged them to make available all available resources to the response.

Daily On-Site Press Briefing, Legislative and Intergovernmental Calls are Conducted

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.

Assets Deployed To Date-Additional 25 Vessels Arrive

Total response vessels: approximately 75
Boom deployed: 174,060 feet
Boom available: 243,260 feet
Oily water recovered: 763,560 gallons
Dispersant used: 98,361 gallons
Dispersant available: 75,000 gallons
Overall personnel responding: more than 1,000

Response Photos:

http://cgvi.uscg.mil/media/main.php?g2_itemId=844167

http://cgvi.uscg.mil/media/main.php?g2_itemId=844164

http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/449676main_gulf-spill-full.jpg

FRIDAY, APRIL 30
The President Dispatches Senior Administration Officials to the Gulf Coast

The President dispatches Secretary Napolitano, Secretary Salazar, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change Policy Carol Browner, and NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco to the Gulf Coast.

The President Makes Remarks on the Oil Spill’s Escalating Situation

The President updates Americans on the ongoing federal response to the worsening BP oil spill

National Guard Activation

In response to the BP oil spill, the Secretary of Defense authorizes under Title 32 the mobilization of the Louisiana National Guard to help in the ongoing efforts to assist local communities in the cleanup and removal of oil and to protect critical habitats from contamination.

Secretary of Defense Approves Request for Two C-130 Aircrafts To Respond

The Secretary of Defense approves a request for two C-130 aircraft with Modular Aerial Spray Systems (MASS), which are currently en route to the affected area. The Coast Guard requested assistance from the Department of Defense for these aircraft. These aircraft dispense the same dispersant chemical being used by BP and the federal responders. Each system is capable of covering up to 250 acres per flight with three flights per aircraft per day.

Response Crews Begin Testing New Dispersant Technique

Response crews begin testing a new technique to break up the oil before it reaches the surface—a remotely operated underwater vehicle dispensing sub-surface dispersant at a rate of nine gallons per minute. Nearly 3,000 gallons of subsea dispersants were applied, and BP and NOAA evaluated these tests to determine the feasibility of continued use of subsea dispersants.

EPA Begins Monitoring Water Quality, Administrator Jackson Remains On The Ground

EPA begins monitoring water quality in the Gulf Coast region. EPA Administrator Jackson remains on the ground in the region for the following three days, visiting sites in Louisiana and Mississippi and meeting with community leaders, local industry and elected leaders at the state and local level.

The President is Briefed

The President monitors the response and is briefed throughout the day by the White House Situation Room

DOI Establishes Outer Continental Shelf Safety Oversight Board

DOI establishes the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Safety Oversight Board to provide recommendations regarding interim measures that may enhance OCS safety, as well as improving and strengthening the Department’s overall management, regulation and oversight of OCS operations. Secretary Salazar will provide a report to President Obama within 30 days on what, if any, immediate additional precautions and technologies should be required

Senior Federal and State Officials Hold Joint Press Briefing On-Site

Secretary Napolitano, Secretary Salazar, EPA Administrator Jackson, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles conducted a press briefing. Daily legislative and intergovernmental calls were also conducted.

NOAA Provides Additional Resources To Protect Critical Wildlife

Personnel from NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuaries program provided additional resources for both response and assessment efforts to protect critical wildlife.

Sixth Staging Area Stood Up

A sixth staging area is set up in Port Sulphur, La., joining five others in Venice, La., Biloxi, Miss., Pascagoula, Miss., Theodore, Ala., Pensacola, Fla.

Assets To Date—1,000 More Responders Arrive

Total response vessels: approximately 75
Boom deployed: 217,000 feet
Boom available: 305,760 feet
Oily water recovered: 853,146 gallons
Dispersant used: 139,459 gallons

Dispersant available: 51,000 gallons
Overall personnel responding: approximately 2,000

Response Photos:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/usnavynvns/4574068993/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/usnavynvns/4574069413/

http://cgvi.uscg.mil/media/main.php?g2_itemId=844563

http://www.flickr.com/photos/uscgd8/4566787948/

SATURDAY, MAY 1

Secretary Napolitano Names U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad Allen to Serve as National Incident Commander

As part of the designation of the BP Oil Spill as a Spill of National Significance, Secretary Napolitano announces that Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad Allen will serve as the National Incident Commander for the administration’s continued, coordinated response— providing additional coordinated oversight in leveraging every available resource to respond to the BP oil spill and minimize the associated environmental risks. Admiral Allen has overseen Coast Guard efforts since the moment this event began, when the agency responded quickly to the April 20 explosion in a search and rescue capacity in order to save lives. With this formal designation Admiral Allen is able to continue to lead and coordinate ongoing federal actions to mitigate the oil spill, for which BP is responsible and required to pay response and cleanup costs.

The President is Briefed

The President monitors the response and is briefed throughout the day by the White House Situation Room

White House Convenes Deputy’s Committee Meeting in Situation Room

The White House convenes a meeting at the deputy secretary level with senior officials from across the government to discuss the escalating situation and the response

White House Homeland Security Advisor and U.S. Coast Guard commandant Brief Reporters Via Conference Call on the Ongoing Response Efforts

White House Homeland Security Advisor John Brennan and Admiral Allen brief media via conference call about ongoing efforts to contain the spill and minimize associated environmental risks.

DoD Airlifts Additional Booms To Better Protect Gulf Coast

To prepare for the possible spreading of the oil slick across the Gulf Coast and in support of the 2nd Unified command Center in Mobile, Ala., the Department of Defense airlifted additional boom materials to Mobile, located on four tractor trailers to expedite transportation on the receiving end.

Eight Staging Areas Begin Operating

Eight staging areas were operating in Venice, La., Biloxi, Miss., Pascagoula, Miss., Theodore, Ala., Pensacola, Fla., Port Sulphur, La., Gulfport, Miss., and Port Fourchon, La.

Assets To Date

Total response vessels: approximately 75
Boom deployed: 275,580 feet
Boom available: 316,470 feet
Oily water recovered: more than 1 million gallons
Dispersant used: 142,914 gallons
Dispersant available: 68,300 gallons
Overall personnel responding: approximately 2,000

Response Photos:

http://cgvi.uscg.mil/media/main.php?g2_itemId=847276

SUNDAY, MAY 2

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 can be found here.

Secretaries Napolitano and Salazar Host Gulf Coast States Conference Call

Secretaries Janet Napolitano and Ken Salazar spoke by conference call to Governors Haley Barbour (MS), Bob Riley (AL), Rick Perry (TX), Charlie Crist (FL) and the Deputy Chief of Staff to Gov. Bobby Jindal (LA). Gov. Jindal was with President Obama. They briefed the Governors on the ongoing response to the BP oil spill in the gulf. They spoke specifically about efforts to stop the oil leaks and about mitigating the oil’s impact on the shorelines of their states. Additionally, they spoke about ways to enhance what has been strong cooperation between the federal government and the states.

30 More Vessels and Additional 1,000 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 30 more vessels to the area and deploying an additional 1,000 responders

BP Begins Accepting Claims

BP begins accepting claims for the Gulf Coast oil spill via BP’s helpline at 1-800-440-0858. A BP fact sheet with additional information is available here. Those who have already pursued the BP claims process and are not satisfied with BP’s resolution can call the Coast Guard at 1-800-280-7118. More information about what types of damages are eligible for compensation under the Oil Pollution Act as well as guidance on procedures to seek that compensation can be found here.

Additional DoD Assets Arrive

Two Modular Aerial Spray System (MASS) aircraft were deployed in support of the event. Both aircraft have multiple missions scheduled daily, contingent on weather. These aircraft can dispense the same dispersant chemical being used by BP and the federal responders. Each system is capable of covering up to 250 acres per flight with three flights per aircraft per day—building on existing dispersant capabilities.

A C-17 aircraft carrying pollution response boom components for support flew from Travis AFB in California and arrived at Mobile International Airport.

MMS Reports that BP Begins Drilling First Deep-Water Intercept Relief Well

MMS reported that BP began drilling the first deep-water intercept relief well. This action is expected to take approximately 90 days.

Assets To Date—30 More Vessels and Additional 1,000 Responders Arrive

Total response vessels: 104
Boom deployed: 243,200 feet
Boom available: 522,821 feet
Oily water recovered: more than 1 million gallons
Dispersant used: 156,012 gallons
Dispersant available: 75,124 gallons
Overall personnel responding: approximately 3,000

MONDAY, MAY 3

The President Dispatches Senior Cabinet Officials Back to the Gulf Coast

The President dispatches the secretaries of Commerce, Interior and Homeland Security, the EPA Administrator and the NOAA Administrator to return to the Gulf Coast this week. Specific details on their travel will come from their departments and agencies, but collectively they will be inspecting the ongoing, coordinated response efforts to mitigate the impact of the spill on public health, the environment and the economy. They will meet with business owners to discuss potential economic impacts of this spill across the Gulf Coast region.

Senior Administration Officials Meet with BP Senior Leadership

Secretary Salazar, Secretary Napolitano, EPA Administrator Jackson and other members of the Obama administration met with BP CEO Tony Hayward and BP America Chairman and President Lamar McKay at the Department of the Interior to discuss ongoing, coordinated response efforts and receive an update on BP’s mitigation plans for potentially impacted Gulf Coast states. This was the most recent in a series of meetings that have taken place between administration leadership and BP leadership.

White House Convenes Deputy’s Committee Meeting in Situation Room

The White House convenes a meeting at the deputy secretary level with senior officials from across the government to discuss the escalating situation, the response and to continue planning for worsening situations

More Than 2,000 Volunteers Are Trained To Assist

More than 2,000 volunteers receive training to assist in the response effort to that date. Volunteer recruitment efforts include outreach to local fishermen with boats, which can be used as vessels of opportunity to assist contractors in deploying boom.

OSHA Ensures Cleanup Workers Receive Necessary Protection

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels visits Louisiana with a team of experienced hazardous materials professionals leading an effort to ensure that oil spill cleanup workers receive necessary protections from the hazards of this work. OSHA is consulting with BP, as well as federal agency partners, to ensure that workers receive appropriate training and protective equipment.

Assets To Date—80 More Vessels Arrive

Total response vessels: 183
Boom deployed: 156,703 feet
Boom available: 530,061 feet
Oily water recovered: more than 1 million gallons
Dispersant used: 156,012 gallons
Dispersant available: 230,138 gallons
Overall personnel responding: approximately 3,000

TUESDAY, MAY 4

Cabinet Officials Brief Members of Congress

Secretary Salazar, Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, Administrator Jackson, DHS Deputy Secretary Jane Holl Lute and Admiral Allen provided a bi-partisan and bi-cameral briefing to Congress on the administration’s all-hands-on-deck response to the spill. They updated members of Congress on the status of ongoing, coordinated response efforts in the Gulf coast states and delivered an update on BP’s mitigation plans for potentially impacted Gulf Coast states.

Cabinet Officials Host Daily Coordination Calls with the Gulf Coast State Governors

To ensure consistent coordination with the Gulf Coast states, Admiral Thad Allen, Secretaries Janet Napolitano and Ken Salazar, Administrator Lisa Jackson and NOAA Deputy Under Secretary Monica Medina began daily calls with the Governors from the five Gulf Coast states to provide updates on the response to the BP oil spill and answer any questions that arise. Governors Barbour, Crist, Jindal, Perry and Riley have been invited to participate in the daily calls moving forward. These daily calls are a follow up to the calls last Friday and Sunday between the Governors and the agencies involved in the federal response, as well as the calls last week between the President and the Governors and the President’s visit to the region on Sunday. These calls are intended to further the already unprecedented cooperation and focused effort between state and local officials and the federal government in response to this situation.

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.

Assets To Date—20 More Vessels and 4,000 Responders Arrive

Total response vessels: nearly 200
Boom deployed: 367,881 feet
Boom available: more than 1 million feet
Oily water recovered: more than 1 million gallons
Dispersant used: nearly 160,000 gallons
Dispersant available: 230,000 gallons
Overall personnel responding: approximately 7,500

*** This is a general narrative of key actions the U.S. government took to save lives and mitigate the BP oil spill’s impact on public health, the environment and the economy. (Detailed and specific after-action information is still being collected, as with any major event.) ***
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
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